Gender differences in neighborhood walking in older adults

OBJECTIVE: This study examined mobility, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, neighborhood (density, destinations, and design), and neighborhood walking in older men (n = 106, 60-99 years, M = 76.78, SD = 8.12) and women (n = 216, 60-99 years, M = 75.81, SD = 8.46). METHOD/RESULTS: In hierarchical regression, the variables explained 32% of the variance in neighborhood walking in men (p < .001) and 27% of the variance in women (p < .01). Self-efficacy (beta = .49, p < .01), density (beta= .22, p < .05), and design (beta= .21, p = .05) were associated with walking in men. Significant design characteristics included sidewalks (beta= .25, p < .05) and crime (beta= .36, p < .01). In women, self-efficacy (beta= .48, p < .001) and destinations (beta= .15, p < .05) were associated with walking. Walking was associated with self-efficacy for walking despite individual barriers in women (beta= .38, p < .001) and neighborhood barriers in men (beta= .30, p < .05). CONCLUSION: Walking interventions targeting older women should incorporate local destinations. In older men, interventions should consider neighborhood sidewalk design and crime. Walking interventions for all older adults should include enhancement of self-efficacy, but gender differences may exist in the types of self-efficacy on which to focus.