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Utility of Social Cognitive Theory in Intervention Design for Promoting Physical Activity among African-American Women: A Qualitative Study

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Objective: We examined the cultural relevance of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) in the design of a physical activity intervention for African-American women. Methods: A qualitative study design was used. Twenty-five African-American women (Mean age = 38.5 years, Mean BMI = 39.4 kg·m2) were enrolled in a series of focus groups (N = 9) to elucidate how 5 SCT constructs (ie, Behavioral Capability, Outcome Expectations, Self-efficacy, Self-regulation, Social Support) can be culturally tailored in the design of a physical activity program for African-American women. Results: For the construct of Behavioral Capability, participants were generally unaware of the amount, intensity, and types of physical activity needed for health benefits. Outcome Expectations associated with physical activity included increased energy, improved health, weight loss, and positive role modeling behaviors. Constructs of Self-efficacy and Self-regulation were elicited through the women perceiving themselves as a primary barrier to physical activity. Participants endorsed the need of a strong social support component and identified a variety of acceptable sources to include in a physical activity program (ie, family, friends, other program participants). Conclusions: Findings explicate the utility of SCT as a behavioral change theoretical basis for tailoring physical activity programs to African-American women.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ;, Email: [email protected] 2: Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 3: Community member of the metropolitan Phoenix area, Phoenix, AZ 4: College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Publication date: 2017-09-01

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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.

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