Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics


Danielle Arigo, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Bethany Raiff, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Katherine Gotham, Ph.D.


Women, text messages, exercise, physical activity


Middle age--Psychological aspects; Cardiovascular system--Diseases--Risk factors


Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Women in midlife (ages 40-60) are at heightened risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although physical activity (PA) engagement can reduce CVD risk, few women engage in sufficient PA to receive this benefit. They cite lack of social support as a key barrier, but existing interventions that employ social support show limited effectiveness. Digital PA support messages (i.e., brief, text-based messages delivered via smartphone or other device) may be a powerful method to meet social support needs in daily life. However, women’s preferences for and responses to distinct types of messages are not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine selections of and responses to digital social support messages among women with CVD risk conditions (e.g., hypertension; N = 27, MAge = 53.3 years, MBMI = 32.6 kg/m2 ). Our findings indicate that women in this group may experience both elevated physical health risks and psychological distress (perceived stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms) that influence perceptions of support resources. Digital PA support for this population needs to account for these barriers to effectively increase PA and reduce health risk among this overburdened and at-risk group.