The influence of close others’ exercise habits and perceived social support on exercise

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Objectives:Exercise rates are low, but perceived support from close others can influence exercise habits. The purpose of the study was to examine the influence of perceived support for exercise as well as close others’ exercise habits on own exercise, and to examine the differential effects of friend’s exercise and romantic partner’s exercise.Design:Undergraduates (N = 220) at a northeastern university completed questionnaires on their own exercise habits, their romantic partner’s and best friend’s exercise habits, and perceived support for exercise.Results:Friend’s exercise was associated with own exercise, but only when perceived support was high. Being male, partner’s exercise, and friend’s exercise all independently predicted own exercise.Conclusions:Exercise habits of close others are associated with one’s own exercise habits, though this relationship may vary depending on perceived support. Attention should be paid to women’s exercise habits, since they are less likely to exercise than men.

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