The purposes of this study were to determine differences between women and men with osteoarthritis in (1) amount and type of exercise behavior; (2) the demographic, psychosocial, health status, and personality correlates of exercise behavior; and (3) the relationship between exercise and health care utilization. Participants were 70 male and 126 female members of a large health maintenance organization who were 60 years of age or older and had osteoarthritis. Results indicated fewer women than men exercised, but among those who exercised, no significant differences in the [amount and type of exercise] behavior were found. Walking was the most frequently reported form of exercise among both women and men. To clarify which variables were related to exercise within each gender, regression analyses were performed separately on the total sample first, and then on women and men separately. In the total sample, age, quality of well-being, and extroversion were significantly related to exercise. Extroversion was significantly related to exercise among men. Helplessness and quality of well-being were significantly related to exercise among women. Exercise was not significantly related to health care service utilization. Results in this study underscore the importance of separating women and men in examination of variables related to exercise behavior.
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