• knowledge;
  • nursing;
  • osteoporosis;
  • path analysis;
  • prevention;
  • self-efficacy;
  • social capital;
  • social support


Title. Factors influencing osteoporosis preventive behaviours: testing a path model.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to test a model of certain factors influencing people engaging in osteoporosis preventive behaviours, and to estimate the direct and indirect effects of personal and social factors on whether people engage in those behaviours.

Background.  Osteoporosis preventive behaviours, including exercise and calcium intake, help decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis. Reasons for engaging in osteoporosis preventive behaviours are complex and influenced by personal and social factors. Years of education, self-efficacy, knowledge of osteoporosis, social support and social capital have been indicated to increase people engaging in osteoporosis preventive behaviours; but age has been shown to decrease those behaviours.

Methods.  The proposed model was developed using Social Cognitive Theory and a conceptual framework for addressing the social context of health behaviour. A correlational cross-sectional study was carried out in 2005, using questionnaires and a convenience sample of 243 participants. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, correlation techniques and path analysis.

Results.  Self-efficacy was a better predictor of engaging in osteoporosis preventive behaviours than were the other variables. Social capital had a statistically significant direct and indirect effect on osteoporosis preventive behaviours. The modified path model showed good fit with the data.

Conclusion.  The associations between personal and social factors extend our knowledge from previous studies and increase our understanding of the complex relationships among the study variables. The model provides guidance for future nursing practice, research, and education programs related to osteoporosis prevention.