Physical activity (PA) is a known benefit to older adults with diabetes; however, the determinants of PA are less well studied in this population. Applying the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), a well-established biopsychosocial framework, we explored PA participation among older adult with type 2 diabetes.
Using data from the Health and Retirement Study and the RAND Center for the Study of Aging (N = 2,016; mean age = 73.19; SD = 6.16), we conducted hierarchical stepwise regression analysis to evaluate the relative contribution of different biopsychosocial predictors to PA – namely, body functions and structure, activity and participation, personal, and environmental factors.
Altogether, biopsychosocial factors accounted for 20% of the variance in PA participation. Of the personal factors, high extraversion and low neuroticism explained approximately 54% of the variance in PA among the older adults – beyond sociodemographics. Low body mass index, reduced pain, reduced depression, and higher cognitive functioning also had good explanatory power (25% of explained variance), whereas activity participation and environment did not (10% each).
Aligning care with components of the ICF will help to ensure a focus on person-centric practices and, in turn, optimize participation outcomes such as PA.