Does Activity-Related Social Support Differ by Characteristics of the Adolescent?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Previous research has shown a positive relationship between activity-related social support provided by parents and peers and adolescents’ physical activity. However, more information is needed on whether activity-related social support differs by sociodemographic characteristics. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in activity-related social support in a sample of adolescents, by characteristics such as age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), ethnicity, and physical activity level and to determine which characteristics are the most important predictors of activity-related social support.

Methods:

Information was provided by 578 boys and 588 girls (11–14 years) on demographic factors, physical activity, and activity-related support. ANOVA, correlations, and multiple regression were performed to address the purposes of the study.

Results:

Boys, White British, younger, more physically active, and high-SES adolescents perceived more support for physical activity. Age predicted all types of support excluding peer support; ethnicity predicted mother logistic support and sibling support; gender predicted peer support, father explicit modeling, and father logistic support; and SES predicted mother and father logistic support.

Conclusions:

Families and peers of adolescents who are female, from Black and minority ethnic groups, older, of low-SES, and less active should be targeted for intervention.

Edwardson is with the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK. Gorely, Musson, Duncombe, and Sandford are with the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences, Institute of Youth Sport, Leicestershire, UK.