Studying the influence of social networks on sustainable behavior change.
Traditionally, community organizations, such as the YMCA, have focused on programming for their individual members, with a 150-year history in helping individuals and families make good, informed lifestyle behavior choices. This grant supports an exploratory study of the Total Health Initiative, with Ys serving as community change agents in eight western region YMCA branches. This initiative seeks to promote the adoption of active health-enhancing behaviors, especially physical activity, from an individual perspective, as well as a community perspective, by influencing social norms. The study will develop methods to assess the influence of people's social networks on sustainable behavioral change in participants, and on norms of the community related to physical activity and nutrition. This project will be considered successful if it provides substantial documentation for this new model, tracks the social influence of networks on people's physical activity, and provides insights about whether this strategy can be effective in increasing physical activity levels. If the model is promising in these areas, it will be positioned for a more definitive test. The exploratory study also will help inform other YMCAs across the country, as they consider changing their strategies from individual to community-level behavior changes.
Amount Awarded $743,640.00
Awarded on: 2/26/2002
Time frame: 3/1/2002 - 2/29/2004
Grant Number: 44054