Longitudinal analysis of minority women’s perceptions of cohesion: the role of cooperation, communication, and competition

Background:
Interaction in the form of cooperation, communication, and friendly competition theoretically precede the development of group cohesion, which often precedes adherence to health promotion programs. The purpose of this manuscript was to explore longitudinal relationships among dimensions of group cohesion and group-interaction variables to inform and improve group-based strategies within programs aimed at promoting physical activity.
Methods:
Ethnic minority women completed a group dynamics-based physical activity promotion intervention (N = 103; 73% African American; 27% Hispanic/Latina; mage = 47.89 + 8.17 years; mBMI = 34.43+ 8.07 kg/m2) and assessments of group cohesion and group-interaction variables at baseline, 6 months (post-program), and 12 months (follow-up).
Results:
All four dimensions of group cohesion had significant (ps < 0.01) relationships with the group-interaction variables. Competition was a consistently strong predictor of cohesion, while cooperation did not demonstrate consistent patterns of prediction.
Conclusions:
Facilitating a sense of friendly competition may increase engagement in physical activity programs by bolstering group cohesion.

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