Using the social cognitive theory, this study aims to examine how gender moderates the direct and indirect relationships of various sources of social support on Chinese adolescents’ physical activity (PA).
A cross-sectional study was conducted. The final data includes 396 students (55.8% are boys) who were randomly selected from 2 middle schools and 4 high schools in Fuzhou city located in southeast China. Family support, peer support, and self-efficacy (SE) were measured using validated questionnaires. Participants’ PA was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire short form. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. A bootstrapping method was used to determine and compare the direct and indirect effects of social support on PA across genders.
Peer support had no direct effect on PA; rather, peer support indirectly influenced PA through SE. Gender did not moderate this mediating effect. In addition, family support had neither a direct nor an indirect effect on PA via SE, and gender did not moderate these effects.
Findings suggest that peer support played a more important role than family support on study participants’ PA indirectly through SE. SE also has a similar indirect effect across genders.
Chen is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA. Dai is with the School of Sport Leisure, Recreation and Arts, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China.