Physical activity and nutritional behaviors of women with physical disabilities: Physical, psychological, social, and environmental influences

Margaret A. Nosek, Rosemary B. Hughes, Susan Robinson-Whelen, Heather B. Taylor, Carol A. Howland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: We examined predictors of 2 important health behaviors, namely, physical activity and nutritional behaviors, in a sample of community-living women with physical disabilities (N = 386). Method: We conducted a cross-sectional survey with regression analysis. Results: Our regression model accounted for 33.5% of the variance in physical activity. Women with joint problems or multiple sclerosis tended to engage in less physical activity than those with stroke-related disabilities. Those who had lived with their disability longer and those experiencing greater pain tended to report less physical activity. Consistent with the literature, women with greater self-efficacy for physical activity tended to engage in more physical activity. The regression model for nutritional behaviors accounted for 37.9% of the variance. Women with better mobility, greater self-efficacy for nutrition, and more vitality had better nutritional behaviors while those who needed assistance with activities of daily living, had lower social functioning scores, and were engaged in more productive activities reported poorer nutritional behaviors. Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of self-efficacy for improving health behaviors. Further research is needed to develop a new paradigm for the measurement of health behaviors, one that focuses on individual improvement rather than comparison to a norm, and health promoting interventions that are responsive to the needs and life circumstances of women with physical disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006

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