Social Support and Physical Activity Among American Indians in Oklahoma: Results From a Community-based Participatory Research Study

Alicia L. Salvatore, Carolyn J. Noonan, Mary B. Williams, Marianna S. Wetherill, Tvli Jacob, Tamela K. Cannady, Joy Standridge, Mandy Grammar, Jill Fox, Andina Wiley, Jennifer Spiegel, Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Little is known about the contribution of social support to physical activity (PA) behavior among American Indians (AIs). This community-based participatory research study examined the prevalence of and associations between different types of PA social support and PA among AIs in rural Oklahoma. Methods: Our tribal-academic partnership surveyed AI adults (N = 513) living within the tribal jurisdictional areas of 2 tribal nations. We used the Physical Activity Social Support (PASS) scale to assess 3 types of PA social support and Poisson regression to investigate associations between PASS types and self-reported PA behavior. Findings: Over a third of participants perceived high levels of PA social support from friends (37%), family (35%), and overall (34%), yet only 29% reported regular PA (ie, 150 minutes or more weekly). Participants who exercised with pets/other were significantly more likely to achieve regular PA than those who exercised alone (PR 2.0, 95% CI: 1.4-2.9). Although not significant, compared with those reporting no/low support, participants with high friend PASS (PR 1.2, 95%: CI 0.9-1.6), medium family PASS (PR 1.2, 95% CI: 0.9-1.7), and overall PASS (PR 1.1, 95% CI: 0.8-1.6) were more likely to report regular PA. Conclusions: The majority of participants did not meet current recommendations for PA behavior, which underscores the ongoing need for PA effective interventions among AIs living in rural areas. Results suggest that exercising with pets/other could be an important factor for future intervention. Further research is needed to elucidate determinants of PA and test interventions to increase PA among AIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-384
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • American Indian
  • Native American
  • physical activity
  • rural
  • social support


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