Improving participation rates for women of color in health research: the role of group cohesion

Prev Sci. 2012 Feb;13(1):27-35. [See on PubMed.]
Authors: Smith-Ray RL, Mama S, Reese-Smith JY, Estabrooks PA, Lee RE.

Adherence to physical activity and dietary interventions is a common challenge. Interventions that use group cohesion strategies show promise for increasing adherence, but have not been tested among women of color. The purpose of this study was to determine whether dimensions of group cohesion mediate the association between intervention condition and attendance within a community physical activity program for women of color. African American and Hispanic or Latina women (N = 310) completed measurements at baseline and post-intervention and participated in a social cohesion intervention to improve physical activity and dietary habits. Women were assigned to a physical activity or fruit and vegetable intervention group. Social and task cohesion was measured using the Physical Activity Group Environment Questionnaire (PAGE-Q). Attendance was recorded at each of six intervention sessions. Women were generally middle-age (M age = 46.4 years, SD = 9.1) and obese (M BMI = 34.4 kg/m2, SD = 7.7). The estimate of the mediated effect was significant for all group cohesion constructs, indicating both task constructs-attraction to the group's task (SE = 0.096, CI: -0.599 to -0.221) and group integration around the task (SE = 0.060, CI: -0.092 to -0.328)-and social constructs-attraction to the group's social aspects (SE = 0.046, CI: -0.546 to -0.366) and group integration around social aspects (SE = 0.046, CI: -0.546 to -0.366)-significantly mediated the association between group assignment and attendance. Both task and social constructs are important to improve attendance in health promotion interventions for women of color.