Relation of acculturation, perceived benefits and barriers, self-efficacy, social support, and beliefs about physical activity to physical activity levels of college-aged Hispanic and non-Hispanic women
Two overall national health goals are to increase the quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of disability and death due to its relationship with overweight and chronic disease. Hispanic women are less physically active than Hispanic men and Anglo women in leisure time physical activity and recommended levels of physical activity (PA). From a developmental perspective, understanding prevalence and correlates of PA in emerging adulthood may make a significant contribution to increasing PA as women move into full adulthood. The Health Promotion Model (HPM) advanced by Pender provided the framework for examining beliefs about PA and other correlates of PA. This study also developed and tested a scale measuring beliefs about PA (BPA) that tried to access cultural differences between non-Hispanic and Hispanic women. The study was carried out by electronic solicitation to randomly selected non-Hispanic and Hispanic students from 3 southwestern universities and yielded 237 complete online surveys. Instruments comprising the survey included the Short-version of the International PA Questionnaire (IPAQ), Exercise Benefits and Barriers Scale (EBBS), Self-Efficacy for Exercise (SEE), Social Support for Exercise Survey for Family and Friends (SSFA, SSFR), BPA, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (ARSMA II), and questions about SES. Statistical procedures included factor analysis, t-tests, and multi-sample path analysis. Respondents included 80 non-Hispanic and 157 Hispanic women, aged 18-27. Factor analysis of the BPA produced 7 subscales accounting for 68% of the explained variance (spirituality, role enhancement, socialization preferences, personal benefits, cultural beliefs, exercise difficulty, and women’s roles). Independent sample t-tests indicated group means for spirituality and cultural beliefs significantly differed, as did total BPA, acculturation, & SES. Path analysis provided evidence for a model with good fit for both groups. Significant path coefficients to vigorous PA included benefits, SE, and SSFA. Total indirect effects for SES to vigorous PA through SE and SSFA were significant. Acculturation, SES, SSFR, and BPA were not significant predictors of vigorous PA.