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Social Environment and Physical activity: A review of concepts and evidence


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  • McNeill, Lorna Haughton
  • Kreuter, Matthew W.
  • Subramanian, S.V.
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    The rapidly growing and evolving literature on the social environment and its influence on health outcomes currently lacks a clear taxonomy of dimensions of the social environment and the differing mechanisms through which each influences health-related behavior. This paper identifies five dimensions of the social environment--social support and social networks, socioeconomic position and income inequality, racial discrimination, social cohesion and social capital, and neighborhood factors--and considers each in the context of physical activity to illustrate important differences between them. Increasing the specificity of terminology and methods in social environmental research on health will enable more systematic inquiry and accelerate the rate of scientific discovery in this important area.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 63 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 1011-1022

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:4:p:1011-1022

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    Keywords: Social environment Social determinants Social contextual factors Physical activity Exercise;


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    Cited by:
    1. Cohen, Deborah A. & Han, Bing & Derose, Kathryn Pitkin & Williamson, Stephanie & Marsh, Terry & Rudick, Jodi & McKenzie, Thomas L., 2012. "Neighborhood poverty, park use, and park-based physical activity in a Southern California city," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2317-2325.
    2. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," MPRA Paper 32367, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Quality and quantity: The role of social interactions in self-reported individual health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(11), pages 1644-1652.
    4. Fredrica Nyqvist & Bernd Pape & Tony Pellfolk & Anna Forsman & Kristian Wahlbeck, 2014. "Structural and Cognitive Aspects of Social Capital and All-Cause Mortality: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 545-566, April.
    5. Caspi, Caitlin E. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Subramanian, S.V. & Tucker-Seeley, Reginald & Sorensen, Glorian, 2013. "The social environment and walking behavior among low-income housing residents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 76-84.
    6. Stoyanova, Alexandrina Petrova & Díaz Serrano, Lluís, 2013. "Disentangling the link between health and social capital: A comparison of immigrant and native-born populations in Spain," Working Papers 2072/222194, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    7. Wagemakers, Annemarie & Vaandrager, Lenneke & Koelen, Maria A. & Saan, Hans & Leeuwis, Cees, 2010. "Community health promotion: A framework to facilitate and evaluate supportive social environments for health," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 428-435, November.
    8. Murakami, Keiko & Hashimoto, Hideki & Lee, Jung Su & Kawakubo, Kiyoshi & Mori, Katsumi & Akabayashi, Akira, 2011. "Distinct impact of education and income on habitual exercise: A cross-sectional analysis in a rural city in Japan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1683-1688.
    9. Kim, Eric S. & Park, Nansook & Peterson, Christopher, 2013. "Perceived neighborhood social cohesion and stroke," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 49-55.
    10. Van Cauwenberg, Jelle & De Donder, Liesbeth & Clarys, Peter & De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse & Buffel, Tine & De Witte, Nico & Dury, Sarah & Verté, Dominique & Deforche, Benedicte, 2014. "Relationships between the perceived neighborhood social environment and walking for transportation among older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 23-30.


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