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Social Support and Social Norms: Do Both Contribute to Predicting Leisure-time Exercise?

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Objective: To clarify the contribution of social support and social norms to exercise behavior. Methods: A sample of 363 college students completed a questionnaire that assessed social support and social negativity from friends, descriptive and injunctive social norms related to friends, perceived behavioral control, attitude, intention, and leisure-time exercise. Results: Esteem social support was the strongest predictor of total and strenuous leisure-time exercise (P<.001), and descriptive norm was a significant (P<.01) predictor of strenuous leisure-time exercise. Conclusion: Social support and social norms contribute independently to our understanding of variation in the frequency of strenuous leisure-time exercise.
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Keywords: exercise; norms; planned behavior; social negativity; social support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. 2: Consultants in Behavioral Research, Tempe, AZ. 3: Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation, Baylor University, Waco, TX.

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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