Background: Perceptions of one's environment and functional status have been linked to physical activity in older adults. However, little is known about these associations over time, and even less about the possible mediators of this relationship. We examined the roles played by neighborhood satisfaction, functional limitations, self-efficacy, and physical activity in a sample of older women over a 6-month period.
Methods: Participants (N = 137, M age = 69.6 years) completed measures of neighborhood satisfaction, functional limitations, self-efficacy, and physical activity at baseline and again 6 months later.
Results: Analyses indicated that changes in neighborhood satisfaction and functional limitations had direct effects on residual changes in self-efficacy, and changes in self-efficacy were associated with changes in physical activity at 6 months.
Conclusion: Our findings support a social cognitive model of physical activity in which neighborhood satisfaction and functional status effects on physical activity are in part mediated by intermediate individual outcomes such as self-efficacy. Additionally, these findings lend support to the position that individual perceptions of both the environment and functional status can have prospective effects on self-efficacy cognitions and ultimately, physical activity behavior.