Social support and companionship among active African American women

Amy E. Harley, Mira L. Katz, Catherine A. Heaney, Dustin T. Duncan, Janet Buckworth, Angela Odoms-Young, Sharla K. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the role of physical activity (PA) companions in supporting PA participation among African American women. Methods: Data were collected through in-depth interviews and focus groups. Fifteen physically active African American women participated in the study. Grounded theory data analysis techniques were used to develop a taxonomy depicting roles of PA companions for African American women. Results: PA companions functioned in 4 different roles: motivational, social, facilitative, and instructional. Supportive behaviors associated with each role were also elucidated. Conclusions: These findings provide an understanding for the function of companions in sustaining active lifestyle that can be used to inform intervention development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009


  • African Americans
  • Physical activity
  • Qualitative research
  • Social support
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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