Active commuting (AC) to the workplace is a successful strategy for incorporating more physical activity into daily life and is associated with health benefits. The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between interpersonal influences and AC.
Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was delivered to workplaces in the mid-Atlantic region. A volunteer convenience sample of adults (N = 1234) completed questions about demographics, number of times per week actively commuting, spouse and coworker AC patterns, and spousal and coworker normative beliefs for AC. Basic descriptive and frequencies described the sample; bivariate correlations examined the relationship between AC and spouse and coworker variables. A multivariate regression analysis predicted the variance in AC with interpersonal independent variables.
Results: The sample was primarily middle-aged, white (92.7%), female (67.9%), and well-educated (83.3% college graduate or higher). Of those surveyed, 20.3% report AC to work at least once per week by means of walking or biking. The number of times per week of AC for spouse (P < .001) and coworkers (P = .006) and AC norms for spouse (P < .001) and coworker (P < .001) were positively related to AC. The multivariate regression model accounted for 37.9% of the variance in AC (F = 101.83, df = 4, P < .001).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that interpersonal influences are significantly related to actively commuting to work. Future interventions targeting AC should consider these interpersonal influences in addition to individual and environmental influences that have been previously documented.