Gender differences in social support and leisure-time physical activity

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Objective: To identify gender differences in social support dimensions' effect on adults' leisure-time physical activity maintenance, type, and time. Methods: Longitudinal study of 1,278 non-faculty public employees at a university in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Southeastern Brazil. Physical activity was evaluated using a dichotomous question with a two-week reference period, and further questions concerning leisure-time physical activity type (individual or group) and time spent on the activity. Social support was measured with the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Scale. For the analysis, logistic regression models were adjusted separately by gender. Results: A multinomial logistic regression showed an association between material support and individual activities among women (OR = 2.76; 95%CI 1.2;6.5). Affective support was associated with time spent on leisure-time physical activity only among men (OR = 1.80; 95%CI 1.1;3.2). Conclusions: All dimensions of social support that were examined influenced either the type of, or the time spent on, leisure-time physical activity. In some social support dimensions, the associations detected varied by gender. Future studies should attempt to elucidate the mechanisms involved in these gender differences.




Oliveira, A. J., Lopes, C. S., Rostila, M., Werneck, G. L., Griep, R. H., De Leon, A. C. M. P., & Faerstein, E. (2014). Gender differences in social support and leisure-time physical activity. Revista de Saude Publica, 48(4), 602–612.

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