Does social support mediate the relationship among neighborhood disadvantage, incivilities, crime and physical activity?

Prev Med. 2015 Mar:72:44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.030. Epub 2015 Jan 3.


Objective: Neighborhood disadvantage (ND), incivilities, and crime disproportionately impact minority women, discouraging physical activity (PA). Social support (SS) is a cultural tool promoting PA in minority women. Socially supportive environments may promote PA in disadvantaged neighborhoods, yet few studies have investigated the mediating role of social support among minority women. This study examined SS as a mediator among ND, incivilities, crime, and PA.

Methods: The Health Is Power study aimed to increase PA in African American and Hispanic Latina women (N=410) in Houston and Austin, TX. ND and crime data were taken from the National Neighborhood Crime Study. Incivilities were measured using the Pedestrian Environment Data Scan (PEDS). SS was measured using the Family and Friend Support for Exercise Habits scale and physical activity was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Linear regression analysis was used to examine SS as a mediator following the Baron and Kenny method.

Results: ND was negatively associated with PA and SS. SS was not a mediator as it was not significantly associated with ND, crime, and incivilities (F(3,264)=2.02, p>.05) or PA (F(1,266)=3.8 p=.052).

Conclusion: ND significantly discourages PA and limits SS. Future research should focus on developing strategies to overcoming these negative environmental factors.

Keywords: Crime; Environmental barriers; Incivilities; Neighborhood disadvantage; Physical activity; Social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data