Sources of Activity-Related Social Support and Adolescents’ Objectively Measured After-School and Weekend Physical Activity: Gender and Age Differences

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

To progress physical activity (PA) social support research using objective measures of PA, attention should be turned to specific segments of the day (eg, after school or weekends) in which young people spend the majority of their time with parents or friends. Furthermore, the majority of previous research has focused on the influence of parents and peers. The current study examined gender and age differences in 5 sources of activity-related social support and their relationship with objectively measured after-school and weekend PA among adolescents.

Methods:

328 adolescents aged 12–16 years (57% boys) wore an accelerometer for 7 days and completed a questionnaire assessing support for PA. After-school and weekend PA were extracted.

Results:

Adolescents perceived more support from their peers compared with other sources and boys perceived more peer support than girls. Younger adolescents perceived greater amounts of family support and explicit modeling from both mother and father; however, logistic support appeared constant throughout adolescence. After controlling for gender and age, peer support was a significant influence on after-school MVPA.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that there may be benefit in encouraging adolescents to participate in PA in the after-school period with their peers.

The authors are with the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.