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“Just Ask Us”: Perceptions of Sedentary Behavior and Healthy Aging Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Nuwere, Efekona (2020) “Just Ask Us”: Perceptions of Sedentary Behavior and Healthy Aging Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Functional ability and continued engagement in life activities are essential to healthy aging. Targeting reductions in sedentary behavior may be a viable pathway to promoting healthy aging during late adulthood. To develop the senior center programs offered by occupational therapy fieldwork students, the present mixed-methods needs assessment explored the perceptions community-dwelling older adults have regarding sedentary behavior and its influence on healthy aging. Older adult participants (n = 46) at two senior centers in New York City took part in 6 focus group discussions and completed surveys about their overall health and daily activity patterns. Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of focus group transcripts used inductive and deductive approaches. Four main themes emerged: (1) “But, you do need to sit once in a while”: what older adults really think about sedentary behavior; (2) Barriers and facilitators to less sitting: an ecological view; (3) Social determinants of health in aging populations; and (4) “Just ask us”: senior center program recommendations for healthy aging. Findings revealed participants were aware of the physical costs of engaging in prolonged sedentary behavior. However, they also reported these sedentary activities offered many psychological, cognitive, and social benefits that supported their health and wellbeing. The factors that influenced their engagement in sedentary behavior are multidimensional and can be mapped across socioecological domains. Insights provided by these older adults will inform the development of health promotion messaging strategies and senior center programs aimed to reduce older adult sedentary behavior. Additionally, findings from this inquiry will aid the development of a fieldwork orientation manual that can be used to guide the fieldwork experience of future occupational therapy students assigned to these senior centers.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nuwere, Efekonaejn14@pitt.eduejn14
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoss, Sharon
Committee MemberBarone Gibbs,
Committee MemberToto,
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 26 June 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 4 August 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 116
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sedentary behavior, occupational therapy, fieldwork
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 15:24
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 15:24


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