Who Will Go Out and Play? Parental and Psychological Influences on Children’s Attraction to Physical Activity

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Identifying social and psychological influences affecting children’s attitudes about physical activity is an important step in understanding individual differences in children’s activity involvement. This study examined the influence of parental socialization and children’s psychological characteristics upon attraction to physical activity. Fourth-grade children (N=81) completed questionnaires assessing perceived physical competence and attraction to physical activity. Parents also completed questionnaires assessing their physical activity orientations and level of encouragement of their child’s physical activity. A proposed model linking four sets of social and psychological variables was tested through path analysis. The results generally supported the hypothesized model and suggested that parental physical activity orientations, parental encouragement levels, children’s gender, and children’s perceived physical competence are important influences upon children’s attraction to physical activity.

Robert J. Brustad is with the School of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639.

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