Antecedents of physical activity among family caregivers

Caryn Diane Etkin, Thomas R. Prohaska, Cathleen M. Connell, Perry Edelman, Susan L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The authors examined exercise behaviors among family caregivers and the degree to which aspects of the caregiving role influenced exercise behaviors. Understanding factors associated with caregiver physical activity provides practitioners the means to design and tailor interventions to be effective for caregivers. Caregivers (N = 208) participating in a self-care intervention to promote caregiving skills were surveyed at baseline, prior to training. Measures included caregiver characteristics, care recipient characteristics, attitudes and intentions toward exercise, and levels of physical activity. Mental health variables and self-efficacy for exercise were significantly related to exercise levels in bivariate analyses. Regression analyses revealed that caregiver and care recipient characteristics accounted for a small percentage of the variance in exercise behavior. Caregiver vitality and self-efficacy for exercise were key variables most significantly related to exercise behaviors. Findings suggest that mental health factors and attitudes about exercise may be more important predictors of exercise than caregiving factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-367
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Caregivers
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity
  • Self-efficacy
  • Vitality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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