By Quianta Moore, Christopher Kulesza, Rachel Kimbro, Daphne Flores and Felicia Jackson
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of prosocial behavior on physical activity, as an indicator of resilience, in a low-income neighborhood with adverse built environment and social conditions. Resilience is an important factor that promotes the ability for individuals to overcome hardships, and understanding resilience as it relates to health behavior is important in the efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities. There are many constructs of resilience, and we selected physical activity as an indicator of resilience because of the role of physical activity in health promotion. A community based participatory research approach was utilized to conduct a door knock survey in a sample of 2,457 households in a low-income, historically African-American neighborhood. Fifty-seven percent of residents completed the survey. Physical activity was the dependent variable and we controlled for key demographics, resident health, primary mode of transportation and neighborhood safety. Prosocial behavior was the primary independent variable. We conducted descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analyses and found prosocial behavior was significantly correlated with moderate physical activity, despite adverse conditions. Our results indicate that prosocial behavior plays an important role in an individual’s ability to engage in health-promoting behaviors, such as physical activity, despite challenges.
Read the full article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.