Paths to leisure physical activity among adults with intellectual disabilities: self-efficacy and social support.

PURPOSE: This study tested a path model that included perceptions of social support and self-efficacy for leisure physical activity and leisure physical activity participation among adults with intellectual disabilities.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional design was used. Data was collected via oral interview. SETTING: Community-based group, supported-living settings in one Midwestern state. SAMPLE: A total of 152 adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, which provided a 39% response rate.

MEASURES: Self-efficacy and social support (from family, residential staff and peers with disabilities) for leisure physical activity were assessed using self-reported scales. Leisure physical activity participation was measured with a self-reported checklist of the frequency of leisure physical activity participation.

ANALYSIS: Path analysis was conducted for the entire sample and was repeated for younger and older age groups.

RESULTS: The hypothesized model fit the data from each group. Social support and self-efficacy predicted physical activity participation, and self-efficacy served as a mediator between social support and physical activity. Significant sources of social support differed between groups; among younger participants, social support from family predicted physical activity, whereas, for the older group, social support from staff and peers predicted physical activity.

CONCLUSION: Self-efficacy and social support for leisure physical activity are related to leisure physical activity participation among adults with intellectual disabilities who are receiving supported-living services. The results provide information to guide health promotion programs for this group.