Background: Despite an increasing number of studies of midlife women’s physical activity, little is known about how attitudes toward physical activity of midlife women from diverse ethnic groups influence the women’s physical activity.
Objectives: To explore ethnic differences in midlife women’s attitudes toward physical activity and determine the relationships between the attitudes and their actual participation in physical activity while considering other influencing factors.
Methods: The Midlife Women’s Attitudes Toward Physical Activity model was used to guide the study. This was a cross-sectional Internet survey study of 542 midlife women. The instruments included questions on background characteristics and health and menopausal status; the Physical Activity Assessment Inventory; a modified Barriers to Health Activities Scale; the Questions on Attitudes Toward Physical Activity, Subjective Norm, Perceived Behavioral Control, and Behavioral Intention; and the Kaiser Physical Activity Survey. The data were analyzed using ANOVA, correlation, hierarchical multiple regression, and path analyses.
Results: There were significant ethnic differences in the attitude scores (F = 2.58, p < .05), but no ethnic differences in the physical activity scores. Interestingly, there were significant ethnic differences in the occupational physical activity scores (F = 5.68, p < .01). Attitude scores accounted for 5% of total variances of the physical activity scores (Fch = 43.52, p < .01). The direct paths from the attitude scores (p < .01), the self-efficacy scores (p < .01), and the barrier scores (p < .05) to the physical activity scores were statistically significant.
Discussion: Ethnic differences in the women’s attitudes toward physical activity need to be considered in promoting physical activity of midlife women.