Modelling the relationship between the built environment and psychosocial correlates of physical activity behaviour

Gavin McCormack

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] The main purpose of this research was to conduct a series of studies with the aim of contributing information about methods for measuring and analyzing physical environmental attributes of neighbourhoods and the influence of these attributes on specific types of physical activity behaviour. Furthermore, this research examined the moderating affect of the objective physical environment on the relationship between cognitions and physical activity behaviours and the mediating role of the cognitions on the associations between the objective physical environment and physical activity. The research included secondary analyses of data collected as part of the Studies of Environmental and Individual Determinants of Physical Activity (SEID1 and SEID2: Corti 1998; Pikora 2003) and the Physical Activity in Localities and Community Environments study (PLACE: Leslie et al. 2005a; Leslie et al. 2005b). Demographic, cognitive, social and behavioural data from the baseline and follow-up surveys from SEID1 (Corti 1998), and objectively measured built environmental data from SEID2 (Pikora 2003) were analyzed. ... A stronger association between frequency of past trying and recreational walking was also found for respondents residing in neighbourhoods with more recreational destinations (β = 0.11), compared with fewer destinations (β = 0.00). These findings show some evidence that the built environment can affect exercise-related cognitions, which in turn influence physical activity. Findings of this and other research (Owen et al. 2000; Humpel et al. 2002; Saelens et al. 2003b; Foster & Hillsdon 2004; McCormack et al. 2004; Owen et al. 2004; Badland & Schofield 2005; Duncan et al. 2005; Heath et al. 2006) support the need to create supportive environments that encourage both recreational and transport-related physical activity. Providing more opportunities and a greater variety of destinations close to home could encourage physical activity participation, and may even assist some individuals to achieve sufficient levels to accrue health benefits. However, additional research is necessary to understand how both the perceived and objectively measured built environment influences physical activity and to provide evidence of temporal causality between environments, cognitions, and physical activity behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007

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