Skip to main content

Table 2 Study characteristics: design, study population and measures of SS and PA

From: The association between social support and physical activity in older adults: a systematic review

First Author (Year) Country Study design1 Sample size1 Gender Age (Years): [Range] Mean (SD) PA Measure2 Domain of PA3 Definition of ‘active’ 4 SS Measure5 Type of SS Source of SS
Booth [95]
Australia
XS
402
44.8% male
[60+ years]
NA
SR: LTPA questionnaire [95] LTPA (walking and MVPA) >800 kcal /week spent doing PA Social environment scale (Likert scale, 4 items). Adapted from Sallis’ SS for ex. Scale [42]. SSPA friends and family
Bopp [65]
Rural USA
XS
102
All female
[50+ years]
70.6 (9.2)
SR: PA Scale for the Elderly (PASE) [96]. Strength training. Strength training exercise (LTPA)   SS for ex. scale [42] Friends 15 qs, family 5 qs. Conflicts with original version (5 friends, 5 family). SSPA friends and family
Carlson [31] USA XS
687-709 (3 PA variables)
46.9% male
[65+ years]
74.4 (6.3)
Objective: Accelerometer (1 week) and subjective SR survey: CHAMPS [97] Total MVPA, TPA   SS for ex. scale. Adapted from [42] & [31]. 4 items; Internal consistency Cronbach’s α = 0.67 SSPA family and friends (Sum score)
Gellert [66]
Germany
Experimental
N = 302
n = 48 ex. with partner
n = 84 singles
n = 170 not ex. with partner
52% male
[60-95 years]
66.5 (4.9)
SR PAQ-50 (adapted from [98]. Frequency and duration in last 7 days HH, LTPA/ sport, TPA   Only 2 items from SS for ex. Scale [42] SSPA. friends, partner and family (total)
Hall [67]
USA
XS
128
All female
[NA]
69.6
Objective: accelerometer analysed as less than 10,000 and more than 10,000 steps per day All At least 10 000 steps /day SS for ex. scale [42] 10 item version, not clear which questions. SSPA Friends and family
Kaplan [80]
Canada
XS
12611
39% male
[65+ years]
NA
SR: leisure PA. Monthly moderate-intensity PA lasting more than 15 mins LTPA Greater than 15 mins PA at least 12x/m = frequent; less than this = infrequent 4 questions. Perceived SS [93]. Qs: 1) someone they could confide in, 2) someone they could count on, 3) someone who could give them advice,4) and someone who made them feel loved. Score = sum of all affirmative (yes) responses to the four items. (Internal consistency Cronbach’s α = 0.75.) General perceived SS.
(General SS)
 
Kim [68]
South Korea
XS
290
30% male
[65-89 years]
68.6 (4.4)
SR: Leisure time PA scale [99] Habitual weekly PA. Greater than 15 mins. Scored in METs (sum total of all activities) LTPA   24 item SS for ex. scale [42]. Translated [100]. 12 friend and 12 family questions. Unclear exactly which Qs. SSPA family and friends
Kraithaworn [69]
Thailand
XS
258
26% male
[60-88 years]
70.0 (6.4)
Modified version of self-reported PAQ for older Thais [101]. 42 items. Number hours /week for each activity. Last 7 days. Scored in METs All 30 mins mod. intensity PA, 5 days /week or
20 mins vig. PA 3 days /week.
Scale developed from Social support for ex. scale [42] modified version for this study and Thais. 11 items [102]. Unclear which questions used. SSPA (emotional support, tangible support, informational support. family and friends
Lian [70]
Singapore
XS
2494
42% male
[60+ years]
NA
SR: Number of times doing moderate or vigorous PA at least 20 mins in last week (moderate: walking, gardening, tai chi chuan, qigong; Vigorous: jogging, cycling, swimming) LTPA mod. or vig. PA at least 20 mins at least 3x /week SS for ex. Scale Adapted from [103]. 6 questions in original; 3 friends, 3 family. SSPA. Family and friends
Luo [58]
China
Longitudinal.
2002 sample n = 14072
re-interviewed 2005 n = 7668
re-interviewed 2008 n = 4033
47.1% male
[65-105 years]
72(6)
SR: Regular PA yes/no? LTPA   Loneliness (as an IV for health). Single question about loneliness (how often lonely: never - always). 5 point Likert scale Loneliness NA
McAuley [71]
USA
Longitudinal
153
28% male
[60-75 years]
66
PA during the study: attendance at the classes (SR exercise log after each class). Follow up PA at 6 and 18 months assessed by SR: PASE [104] 10 item scale LTPA, OPA, HHPA, (summed)   Social Support Provisions Scale [105] (support provided by exercise group). 24 items, 6 headings reflecting the social provisions proposed by [106]: attachment, social integration, reassurance of worth, reliable alliance, opportunity for nurturance, and guidance. SSPA. Exercise group
Mowen [81]
USA
XS
1515
44% male
[50-99 years]
67.4(9)
SR: Single ordinal item. Daily PA levels scored 1-3.
1 = sedentary,
2 = moderate activity
3 = vigorous activity (uses examples for each e.g. usually sedentary, usually walking a lot etc.)
LTPA, OPA, TPA (combined)   Social support questionnaire (SSQ) [92]. 6 items. Number of people providing supports and degree of satisfaction with support. 6 Point Likert General SS, network size,
SS satisfaction
Number of people to provide support, satisfaction with. (all people in network)
Netz [59]
Israel
XS
1663
48% male
[65+ years]
74.8(6.2)
SR: frequency and average time doing certain types of Moderate and vigorous intensity PA each week (e.g. walking etc.). LTPA Sufficiently active: Mod. PA at least 150 mins /week, or Vig. PA at least 75 mins /week or an equivalent mix of the 2. Insufficiently active: Some activity but less than the levels above. Inactive: no activity other than light-intensity activity less than 1x /week 1 item from CES-D [107] Lonely/not lonely 4 point Likert scale. A question also about living alone Loneliness, living alone NA
Newall [60]
USA
Longitudinal
194
37.7% male
[77-96 years]
83(4.2)
Objective: Accelerometer. Daily PA all daily activity   Loneliness measured in 2001 using [108] 11-item loneliness scale. Loneliness NA
O'Brien Cousins [72]
Canada
XS
327
All female
[70-98 years]
76.7 (5.5)
SR: Older adults exercise status inventory (adapted from other scales for this study) LTPA, OPA, HHPA (summed)   4 Questions (1) previous family sport involvement; (2) current encouragement by at least one person to maintain one's physical abilities; (3) endorsement by the family physician; and 4) peer group interest in physical fitness activity SSPA family, friends, doctor (sum score)
Oka [73]
Japan
XS
137
47% male
[70-89 years]
74.5
Objective: pedometer daily number of steps. Recorded. Over 1 year and data downloaded every month. All Men = 6700 steps, women = 5900 steps Itakura Social support for ex. [109] 5 item scale. Functional, emotional, and informational Social support for exercise i) advice/instruction, ii) understanding/ sympathy, iii) former encouragement/ reinforcement, iv) joint implementation, v) compliment/ appreciation. SSPA. family and friends (sum score)
Orsega-Smith [33, 74]
USA
XS
1900
38.5% male
[50+ years]
67.7 (6.9)
SR: survey frequency, intensity, time of 6 different PAs (specified by participants) over the last week. Total METs calculated. LTPA A minimum of 3 METs (mod. level of PA), at least 5 days /week (meeting PA guidelines) Social support for ex. scale [42] 12 items for friends and family (not clear if 12 is total number of questions or 12 for each friends and family) SSPA Family and friends (separate)
Park [75]
South Korea
XS
187
29.9% male
[57-96 years]
71.6 (5.9)
SR: PASE [110] LTPA, OPA HHPA (summed) high-active = 150mins mod. and/or 75 mins vig. PA /week. low-active = Less than above Social support for ex scale [42] Not clear if full original questionnaire was used. Translated into Korean. SSPA Friends and family
Potts [83]
USA
XS.
936
40.4% male
[NA]
72.6 (5.9)
SR telephone interview: Regular exercise in last week yes/no LTPA   Social network scale [91] . 10 items. Number of friends and family (asked separately) seen regularly, able to talk to about private matters and ask for help. General Social engagement
(General SS)
family and friends
Sasidharan [76]
USA
XS
1967
Gender NA
[50+ years]
NA
SR: 5 items from PASE [110] LTPA   Social support for ex scale [42] 12 questions for each; friends and family SSPA friends or family
Schuster [77]
USA
XS
108
31% male
[60+ years]
NA
SR: Frequency of participation in one or more physical activities in last 6 months for 20-30 min? LTPA   Social support for ex. scale. 5 items. Adapted from Sallis (1987). Not clear which questions SSPA Friends and family (combined).
Shankar [61]
UK
XS
8688
46.1% male
[NA]
66.9 (10.4)
SR: times /week taken part in vigorous, moderate or mild PA LTPA, OPA Inactive = mod.- vig. PA no more than 1x /week 3 item revised UCLA loneliness scale [111]. And also a measure of social isolation Loneliness and social isolation NA
Shiovitz-Ezra [62]
USA
XS
3005
46.6% male
[57-85 years]
NA
SR interview: frequency participating in PA (examples provided), 5-point Likert scale ranging from more than 3x /week to never. LTPA   Loneliness question from CES-D Loneliness Loneliness
Theeke [63]
USA
XS
13812
38.7% male
[NA]
67.7 (9.2)
SR: Frequency doing sports/ activities that are moderately energetic: every day, more than 1x/week, 1x/week, 1-3x /m, never. LTPA   Loneliness question from Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) [94]. Loneliness NA
Vance [82]
USA
XS
158
52.5% male
[65-91 years]
74.8 (5.8)
SR: PA Questionnaire All types of LTPA separated   Lubben Social Networks Scale [91] Social engagement (General SS)  
Wilcox [78]
Rural USA
XS
102
All female
[50+ years]
M = 70.6
SR: PASE; [110] LTPA, OPA, HHPA, (summed)   SS for ex. scale [42] (15 friends, 5 family) SSPA Family and friends. Average of 2 used or for analysis (overall SS)
Yeom [79]
USA.
Quasi-exp.
N = 64
n (IG) =33
n (CG) =31
23.4% male
[60-89 years]
71 (7.4)
SR: Participation in any type of regular PA for a minimum 30 min 3x /week? (y/n) LTPA (flexibility, balance, walking) Answered ‘Yes’ to PA question SS for ex. scale [42] 9 items friends and 9 family. Not clear exactly which questions. SSPA Friends and family (separate)
  1. 1 XS = cross sectional, Exp. = experimental, N = total number of participants, n = number of participants in a group, ex. = exercise, IG = intervention group, CG = control group
  2. 2 SR = Self-Report, /week = per week, /m = per month
  3. 3 LTPA = Leisure time PA, TPA = Active Transport, HPA = Household PA, OPA = Occupational PA, MVPA = moderate- vigorous PA
  4. 4 /day = per day, /week = per week, /m = per month, mod. = moderate, vig. = vigourous
  5. 5 ex. = exercise, qs = questions