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Keywords:

  • motor activity;
  • Community Mental Health Services;
  • social isolation;
  • cross-cultural comparison

Objective:  Community mental health center (CMHC) clients include a variety of people with moderate to severe mental illnesses who also report a number of physical health problems. Physical activity (PA) has been identified as one intervention to improve health among this population; however, little is known about the role of social context in PA. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of social context in everyday PA among CMHC clients.

Method:  Data were collected from CMHC clients in two cultures using accelerometery and experience sampling methods. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling.

Results:  Independence in housing nor culture was significantly associated with levels of PA. Being alone was significantly negatively related to PA level.

Conclusion:  Social isolation appears to be negatively related to PA at the level of everyday life. Physical activity interventions with this population should consider including social components as a part of PA.