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Cavallo, David N.; Brown, Jane D.; Tate, Deborah F.; DeVellis, Robert F.; Zimmer, Catherine R.; & Ammerman, Alice S. (2014). The Role of Companionship, Esteem, and Informational Support in Explaining Physical Activity among Young Women in an Online Social Network Intervention. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37(5), 955-966. PMCID: PMC3972383


The primary objective of the current study was to examine the relationship between social support and physical activity within the theory of planned behavior (TPB) theoretical framework. This study used data from the Internet Support for Healthy Associations Promoting Exercise randomized controlled trial. A total of 134 female undergraduate students participated in the study, which included baseline and post measures of perceived social support for physical activity (esteem, informational, and companionship), TPB variables related to physical activity (perceived behavioral control, intention, and attitude), and physical activity behavior. Path analysis revealed a significant indirect relationship between change in companionship support and physical activity mediated by change in intention (.13, p < .01) and a significant direct relationship between change in esteem support and change in physical activity (.26, p = .03). The model explained 27 % of the variance in physical activity and 59 % of the variance in intention. Overall, change in social support exerted a small to medium amount of influence on change in physical activity in this modified TPB model when controlling for traditional model constructs. Encouraging companionship and esteem support should be considered as a strategy for increasing physical activity in this population.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Behavioral Medicine


Cavallo, David N.
Brown, Jane D.
Tate, Deborah F.
DeVellis, Robert F.
Zimmer, Catherine R.
Ammerman, Alice S.