All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Dorothy Pekmezi

Advisory Committee Members

Alfred Bartolucci

Andrea Cherrington

Susan Davies

Connie Kohler

Stuart Usdan

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2014

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health

Abstract

Latinas in the United States report high levels of physical inactivity and are disproportionately burdened by associated chronic diseases, demonstrating the need for innovative approaches to reducing these disparities. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate self-reported changes in physical activity and social support, and to examine the association between physical activity and acculturation, following a one month culturally and linguistically adapted, theory-driven (Social Cognitive Theory and Transtheoretical Model) Internet-based physical activity intervention for Latina adults. Data was collected from Spanish-speaking Latinas (N=24) between the ages of 21-61 years (M=35.17, SD=11.22) enrolled in a web-based physical activity pilot study. Paired t-tests and Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to assess pre-post changes in self-reported physical activity and social support for exercise from baseline to one-month. Bivariate regression analyses were used to assess whether pre-post changes in social support were associated with pre-post changes in physical activity, and whether baseline level of acculturation was associated with pre-post changes in physical activity. Study completers reported significant increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity from an average of 29.05 (SD= 34.01) minutes per week at baseline to 125.48 (SD= 148.22) minutes per week at one-month (p= .003). Non-parametric tests also indicated significant increases in physical activity from baseline to one month. There were no significant changes in social support from baseline to one month and no significant association between pre-post changes in social support and pre-post changes in physical activity. Baseline level of acculturation was not significantly associated with pre-post changes in physical activity. Results from this study provide preliminary support for the use of culturally adapted Internet-based interventions for promoting physical activity among Latina adults. Further research with larger, more diverse samples of Latinas and randomized controlled designs is necessary to understand the impact of using Internet-based interventions for reducing physical activity disparities among Latinas, as well as the relationship between psychosocial variables such as social support and acculturation and physical activity in this community.

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