Whipple headshot

Mary O. Whipple, PhD, RN

Postdoctoral Fellow, Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine

Research Description

Seed grant project title: Understanding the Role of Knowledge, Mood, and Sense of Meaning in Sedentary Behavior Engagement Among Older Women with Type 2 Diabetes: Implications for All Older Women

Current research focus: Sedentary behavior has significant and unique effects on human health, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early mortality. Older women with type 2 diabetes are particularly vulnerable; however, little is known about how knowledge of the behavior, mood, and awareness of one's meaning or purpose in life may be related to engagement in sedentary behavior, a critical first step in designing effective, sustainable interventions to decrease sedentary behavior. The purpose of the proposed study is to address this gap by interviewing older women with type 2 diabetes to explore how they view sedentary behavior and its health effects and their preferences for strategies to reduce sedentary behavior. Dr. Whipple will also explore temporal relationships between sedentary behavior, mood, and sense of meaning using an activity monitor and brief electronic surveys completed over the course of 7 days. This study will lay the foundation for future work to design and evaluate interventions to reduce sedentary behavior with the goal of improving cardiovascular health, which is especially critical in older women with type 2 diabetes, who face a particularly large burden of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and are especially likely to be sedentary. Future studies will compare sedentary behavior in women and men to determine the presence of sex differences in the best therapies to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity in all older women.