Factor Analysis Test of an Ecological Model of Physical Activity Correlates

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Objectives: The fit of measured variables into a social-ecological model of correlates of physical activity is rarely tested. In this study, we examined the factor structure of correlates of moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) within a hypothesized social-ecological model. Methods: We measured 46 possible personal, social and environmental correlates of MVPA in 2779 adolescents participating in the Project EAT-2010 study. Confirmatory (CFA) and exploratory factor analyses (EFA) were used to determine the factor structure. Associations of factor scores with self-reported MVPA were calculated with linear regression. Results: A 6-factor CFA model did not show adequate fit. Eight factors were identified using EFA (Root Mean Square Error [RMSEA] 90% CI: 0.053 to 0.055; CFI = 0.82). A factor representing the mix of personal and social correlates showed the strongest association with MVPA. Conclusions: The 8-factor model supports independent clustering of possible environmental correlates of MVPA, but indicates that social and personal correlates may not cluster independently. The factor most strongly correlated with MVPA represented a mix of personal and social correlates. Future work will be needed to better understand how mechanisms for developing physical activity work within and across levels of the social-ecological framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant Number R01HL084064 from the National Heart, Lund and Blood Institute (principal investigator, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer). Jonathan M Miller is supported by Grant Number T32CA163184 from the National Cancer Institute (principal investigator, Michele Allen). The research presented in this paper is that of the authors and does not reflect the official policy of the NHLBI, NCI or NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 PNG Publications. All Rights Reserved.

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