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Megan MacDonald, Bridget Hatfield, and Erica Twardzik

The hallmark characteristics of a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are deficits in social communicative skills and the use of repetitive and/or stereotyped behaviors. In addition, children with ASD experience known motor-skill delays. The purpose of this study was to examine salient child behaviors of young children with and without ASD in 2 distinctly different play settings: a traditional social-play-based setting and a motor-behavior-based play setting. Child behavior (engagement toward parent, negativity, and attention) and dyad characteristics (connectedness) were examined in 2 distinctly different play settings. Results indicated that children with ASD performed more like their peers without ASD in a social-play-based setting and less like their peers in a motor-behavior-based play setting. Aspects of our results shed light on the critical need to develop creative methods of early intervention that combine efforts in all aspects of child development, including motor-skill development.

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Byungmo Ku, Megan MacDonald, Bridget Hatfield, and Kathy Gunter

The purpose of this study was to test a modified conceptual model of the associations between parental supports and physical activity (PA) orientations and the PA behaviors of young children with developmental disabilities (DDs). In total, 135 parents of young children with DDs completed a questionnaire, which consisted of 67 questions. A pathway analysis indicated that tangible and intangible parental supports were significantly associated with PA behaviors in young children with DDs (β = 0.26, p = .01, and β = 0.24, p = .02, respectively). Tangible parental support was positively associated with parents’ PA behaviors and PA enjoyment (β = 0.22, p < .001, and β = 0.13, p = .04, respectively). Intangible parental support was positively associated with parents’ PA behaviors and PA importance (β = 0.19, p = .05, and β = 0.33, p < .001, respectively). In addition, parental PA behaviors and parents’ perceptions of their children’s motor performance were both directly associated with PA behaviors in young children with DDs. These results highlight the importance of parental support and PA orientations in relation to the PA behaviors of young children with DDs.

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Samantha M. Ross, Ellen Smit, Joonkoo Yun, Kathleen Bogart, Bridget Hatfield, and Samuel W. Logan

Background: Children and adolescents with disabilities often report low levels of physical activity (PA). Estimating the magnitude of PA disparities has been previously challenged by underreporting and variability in subsampling of disability. Using the National Survey of Children’s Health, this study estimated the population-level PA disparities experienced and the association between disability status and PA engagement. Methods: Weighted prevalence of PA engagement (National Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd edition) and sports participation) was compared across disability groups for children (n = 20,867, 6–11 y) and adolescents (n = 28,651, 12–17 y) and found to be 12%. Age-stratified multivariable logistic regressions estimated the likelihood of PA engagement as a function of disability status and type, after adjusting for child and household factors. Results: Children, but not adolescents, with disabilities had significantly lower odds of being sufficiently active compared with peers without disabilities (adjusted odds ratio = 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.60–0.94). Across age groups, the lowest prevalence rates were observed among those experiencing function and mobility disabilities. Children and adolescents were significantly less likely to participate in sports compared with peers. Conclusion: Children with function and mobility disabilities were identified as priority subpopulations least likely to be sufficiently active. The disparity in sports participation highlights a critical intervention point for increasing PA among children with disabilities.

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Samantha M. Ross, Ellen Smit, Joonkoo Yun, Kathleen R. Bogart, Bridget E. Hatfield, and Samuel W. Logan

A secondary data analysis of 33,093 children and adolescents age 6–17 years (12% with disabilities) from a 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health nonrepresentative sample aimed to identify (a) unique clusters of sociodemographic characteristics and (b) the relative importance of disability status in predicting participation in daily physical activity (PA) and sports. Exploratory classification tree analyses identified hierarchical predictors of daily PA and sport participation separately. Disability status was not a primary predictor of daily PA. Instead, it emerged in the fifth level after age, sex, body mass index, and income, highlighting the dynamic intersection of disability with sociodemographic factors influencing PA levels. In comparison, disability status was a second-level predictor for sport participation, suggesting that unique factors influencing PA level are likely experienced by disabled children and adolescents. The authors employ an intersectionality lens to critically discuss implications for research in adapted PA.