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Job Design and Ethnic Differences in Working Women's Physical Activity

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Objective: To document the role job control and schedule control play in shaping women's physical activity, and how it delineates educational and racial variability in associations of job and social control with physical activity. Methods: Prospective data were obtained from a community-based sample of working women (N = 302). Validated instruments measured job control and schedule control. Steps per day were assessed using New Lifestyles 800 activity monitors. Results: Greater job control predicted more steps per day, whereas greater schedule control predicted fewer steps. Small indirect associations between ethnicity and physical activity were observed among women with a trade school degree or less but not for women with a college degree. Conclusions: Low job control created barriers to physical activity among working women with a trade school degree or less. Greater schedule control predicted less physical activity, suggesting women do not use time “created” by schedule flexibility for personal health enhancement.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for Family Resilience, Oklahoma State University, Department of Human Development and Family Science, Tulsa, OK, USA. 2: HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, Research Methodology Group, Bloomington, MN, USA 3: Science Program, HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, Bloomington, MN, USA 4: Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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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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