Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Joan Cranford, EdD, RN

Second Advisor

Martha Polovich, PhD, RN

Third Advisor

Megan McCrory, PhD, FTOS

Fourth Advisor

Susan Buchholz, PhD, RN, Consultant


Low participation in physical activity is rapidly becoming a global health concern. Among the 7.5 billion people worldwide, 31% (2.3 billion) are physically inactive and 3.2 million die annually because of a lack of physical activity. Because African American women have been identified as the least active demographic group, and have the highest overweight and obesity rates among all other demographic groups they are at significant risk for health problems associated with low physical activity. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effect of knowledge, beliefs, self-regulation, and social facilitation on increasing physical activity in African American women through a 6-week, investigator designed intervention. Understanding the effect of knowledge, self-regulation, and social facilitation may provide a broadened clinical understanding of low physical activity in African American women and may lead to sustainable methods and outcomes for increasing physical activity. A two-group pretest/posttest, quasi-experimental design was used to frame this 6-week intervention. This design allowed for knowledge and beliefs about physical activity and self-regulation and social facilitation to be quantified in order to test differences between the intervention and control groups at baseline and 2 weeks post-intervention. The participants in this study were recruited from two different counties in the southeastern United States. Thirty-seven African American women between 20 and 70 years were recruited using convenience sampling. The analysis indicated a statistically significant difference in perceived friends’ social facilitation of physical activity. For those women who completed the treatment, significant positive correlations were found between their level of confidence to engage in physical activity and their perceived level of family support, self-regulation, and strenuousness of physical activity. Correlations between friend support and strenuousness, strenuousness and frequency of physical activity, and strenuousness and frequency of physical activity and self-efficacy were also significant. Findings from this study revealed a significant relationship between social facilitation and physical activity in African American women. To improve the GET FIT DON’T QUIT intervention, additional studies should employ techniques to increase knowledge about physical activity guidelines that are meaningful to the study participants to identify differences between groups.

File Upload Confirmation