“It was just for us”: qualitative evaluation of an exercise intervention for African-American couples

Lyndsey M. Hornbuckle, Cristina S. Barroso, Amy Rauer, Chloe S. Jones, Kerri M. Winters-Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Promoting long-term exercise adherence should be a key focus for health and fitness professionals working to reduce obesity and cardiometabolic health disparities, and all-cause mortality in inactive African-American (AA) adults. Data have suggested that romantic partners can improve long-term exercise adherence and that this dyadic approach should be examined in exercise interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative evaluation of a pilot exercise intervention conducted in older AA couples. Methods: Two semi-structured focus groups were utilized to compare participants’ perceptions of and experiences during the pilot intervention across two randomly assigned treatment conditions (exercising together with partner [ET; n = 8] versus exercising separately [ES: n = 6]). Participants (mean age: 64.7 ± 6.8 years) of a previous 12-week pilot exercise intervention (walking ≥3 days/week, 30 min/day plus supervised resistance training 2 days/week) were interviewed. Verbatim transcripts were coded using an open coding approach. Results: Three key themes (intervention value/benefits, intervention difficulties, and suggested improvements) emerged. Although all couples identified health and relationship benefits of the intervention, some differences surfaced within themes across the two intervention groups. Conclusions: Overall, these qualitative data suggest that couples had a positive experience while participating in the pilot study. In addition, key learning points to improve the intervention were identified including a more gradual transition to independent exercise, more flexibility training, and the incorporation of tangential education. These data will help investigators continue to develop the intervention, which is ultimately designed to promote long-term exercise adherence to reduce cardiometabolic health disparities in the AA community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number838
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cultural relevance
  • Dyads
  • Intimate relationships/marriage
  • Older adults
  • Resistance training
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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