Older adults' social network and support and its association with physical activity

Geriatr Nurs. Mar-Apr 2021;42(2):517-523. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2020.09.006. Epub 2020 Oct 7.


The purpose of this study was to describe older adults' social network and support during a physical activity intervention and its association with physical activity. Mixed methods were used for this secondary analysis of existing data from a physical activity intervention. Seventy-three participants who completed a session by telephone on using support comprised the sample. Participants reported on average approximately eight individuals in their social network. Half reported support for physical activity from a spouse/partner, adult child, or friend. Those who perceived support for self-reported physical activity tended to have greater improvements on average from baseline for mean daily minutes of physical activity than those with no perceived support. Four-fifths developed a plan for a spouse/partner, friend, adult child, or sibling to provide physical activity support. Participants reported that the session was helpful and increased their confidence in using support; over one-quarter intended to use support after the intervention ended.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01280903.

Keywords: Comorbidity; Dyads; Exercise; Social network; Social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Self Report
  • Social Networking*
  • Social Support

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01280903