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Factor Analysis Test of an Ecological Model of Physical Activity Correlates

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Objectives: The fit of measured variables into a social-ecological model of correlates of physical activity is rarely tested. In this study, we examined the factor structure of correlates of moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) within a hypothesized social-ecological model. Methods: We measured 46 possible personal, social and environmental correlates of MVPA in 2779 adolescents participating in the Project EAT-2010 study. Confirmatory (CFA) and exploratory factor analyses (EFA) were used to determine the factor structure. Associations of factor scores with self-reported MVPA were calculated with linear regression. Results: A 6-factor CFA model did not show adequate fit. Eight factors were identified using EFA (Root Mean Square Error [RMSEA] 90% CI: 0.053 to 0.055; CFI = 0.82). A factor representing the mix of personal and social correlates showed the strongest association with MVPA. Conclusions: The 8-factor model supports independent clustering of possible environmental correlates of MVPA, but indicates that social and personal correlates may not cluster independently. The factor most strongly correlated with MVPA represented a mix of personal and social correlates. Future work will be needed to better understand how mechanisms for developing physical activity work within and across levels of the social-ecological framework.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN;, Email: [email protected] 2: University of Minnesota, Division of Biostatistics, Minneapolis, MN 3: University of Minnesota, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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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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