Mediators of physical activity behavior change among women with young children

Miller, Y.D., Trost, S.G., & Brown, W.J. (2002) Mediators of physical activity behavior change among women with young children. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23(2), pp. 98-103.

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Women with children are less likely to engage in adequate physical activity (PA) than women without children. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of two strategies for promoting increased PA among mothers of preschool-aged children, and to explore the mediators of any resulting change in PA behavior.


Controlled intervention trial incorporating repeated data collection from 554 women, randomized to one of three experimental conditions. Intervention Group 1 served as a control, while women in Groups 2 and 3 were given print information about overcoming PA barriers. Women in Group 3 were also invited to discuss the development of local strategies for the promotion of PA among mothers of young children. The primary strategies included increasing partner support, social advocacy, and capacity building, and were implemented through collaboration among participants, researchers, and community organizations.

Main Outcome Measures

Adequate physical activity (PA), self-efficacy (SE) and partner support (PS).

Results: Following the intervention, women in Group 3 were significantly more likely to meet guidelines for PA than controls (odds ratio [OR]=1.71, confidence interval [CI]=1.05–2.77)] after controlling for age and PA at baseline. After controlling for baseline PA, residualized change in SE (OR=1.86, CI=1.17–2.94) and PS (OR=2.29, CI=1.46–3.58) significantly predicted meeting guidelines. After controlling for residual change in PS and SE, the significant intervention effect was attenuated (Group 3 OR=1.40, CI=0.76–2.36), indicating that partner support and self-efficacy may be mediators of physical activity behavior change.


The findings indicate that community participation approaches that facilitate increased self-efficacy and partner support can be effective in increasing PA among mothers of young children.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 71795
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 579MJ
Times Cited: 90
Cited Reference Count: 24
<Go to ISI>://WOS:000177181500015
Miller, YD Trost, SG Brown, WJ
Elsevier science inc
New york
Keywords: exercise, intervention studies, mothers, physical fitness, self-efficacy, social support, exercise
DOI: 10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00484-1
ISSN: 0749-3797
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 20 May 2014 01:04
Last Modified: 20 May 2014 01:04

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