Improving Participation Rates for Women of Color in Health Research: The Role of Group Cohesion

Renae L. Smith-Ray, Scherezade Mama, Jacqueline Y. Reese-Smith, Paul A. Estabrooks, Rebecca E. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Adherence to physical activity and dietary interventions is a common challenge. Interventions that use group cohesion strategies show promise for increasing adherence, but have not been tested among women of color. The purpose of this study was to determine whether dimensions of group cohesion mediate the association between intervention condition and attendance within a community physical activity program for women of color. African American and Hispanic or Latina women (N = 310) completed measurements at baseline and post-intervention and participated in a social cohesion intervention to improve physical activity and dietary habits. Women were assigned to a physical activity or fruit and vegetable intervention group. Social and task cohesion was measured using the Physical Activity Group Environment Questionnaire (PAGE-Q). Attendance was recorded at each of six intervention sessions. Women were generally middle-age (M age = 46. 4 years, SD = 9. 1) and obese (M BMI = 34. 4 kg/m2, SD = 7. 7). The estimate of the mediated effect was significant for all group cohesion constructs, indicating both task constructs-attraction to the group's task (SE = 0. 096, CI: -0. 599 to -0. 221) and group integration around the task (SE = 0. 060, CI: -0. 092 to -0. 328)-and social constructs-attraction to the group's social aspects (SE = 0. 046, CI: -0. 546 to -0. 366) and group integration around social aspects (SE = 0. 046, CI: -0. 546 to -0. 366)-significantly mediated the association between group assignment and attendance. Both task and social constructs are important to improve attendance in health promotion interventions for women of color.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Group processes
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Mediation
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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