Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Warren D. Franke


Introduction: Regular physical activity (PA) has been shown to be beneficial. A lower percentage of rural compared to urban/metropolitan older adults participate in PA. Maintaining desired amounts of PA among elderly individuals with limited access to community and health care facilities and other psychological and environmental barriers is critical to public health . Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the individual, psychological and perceived environmental barriers and their correlation with PA in rural and urban older adults.

Methodology: After approval from the Institutional Review Board at Iowa State University, 150 survey questionnaires were distributed to older adults attending stroke detection clinics organized at various locations within the state of Iowa.

Results: Of the 150 surveys, 41 and 31 surveys were received from rural and urban locales respectively. Land-use mix diversity, Physical Activity Self Efficacy, Social Support from friends and Competence Motivation for physical activity were significantly higher (p<0.05) in urban subjects. Affective attitude and Satisfaction With Life Score was significantly higher (p <0.05) among rural subjects. In the entire cohort, PA was significantly correlated with Intention to Exercise (r = 0.46), Barrier Self Efficacy (r = 0.42), Satisfaction With Life Scale (r = 0.36), Physical Activity Self Efficacy (r = 0.34), Perceived Behavioral Control (r = 0.28) and Instrumental Attitude (r = 0.20). When all correlates were entered into a regression model, only Intention to Exercise (R2 = 0.213) was significantly associated with PA in the total cohort. In the rural group, Barrier Self Efficacy, depression and Pros and Cons of exercise were associated with PA (R2 = 0.511). Intention to exercise and education were associated with PA in the urban sample (R2 = 0.390).

Discussion: The findings do not support locale to be associated with PA behavior in older adults residing in Iowa. The levels of PA were similar between urban and rural populations under study. However, PA correlates differ between the urban and rural older adults and must be considered when planning exercise intervention for respective groups.


Copyright Owner

Arjun Hariharan



Date Available


File Format


File Size

66 pages

Included in

Kinesiology Commons