Parental safety concerns have been recognized as a critical determinant of adolescents’ physical activity. However, it is still uncertain what factors relate to parental safety concern, and how they, in turn, affect adolescents’ physical activity. This study explored the mediating relationships of parental safety concern on adolescents’ physical activity by considering personal, social, and built environmental factors.
This cross-sectional analysis used the data from Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), a national study (N = 5212). A structural equation model (SEM) was used to evaluate the hypothesized framework.
50% of the adolescents engaged in at least 6 days of exercise every 14 days, at a rate of at least 20-minutes per day. Adolescents were more physically active when parents perceived higher levels of safety. Parents perceived their children as safe when they lived in areas with easy access to play spaces. Moreover, adolescents with more close friends and more friends with whom they could play were more physically active and their parents perceived higher levels of safety.
Parental safety concerns may profoundly affect adolescent’s physical activity and the resulting health outcomes. Programs and policies should consider the importance of parental safety concerns in promoting adolescents’ physical activity.