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Ronald J. Iannotti, Rusan Chen, Hania Kololo, Gintare Petronyte, Ellen Haug and Chris Roberts

Background:

Although there are substantial international differences in adolescent physical activity (PA), cross-country motivational differences have received limited attention, perhaps due to the lack of measures applicable internationally.

Methods:

Identical self-report measures assessing PA and motivations for PA were used to survey students ages 11, 13, and 15 from 7 countries participating in the 2005−2006 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study representing 3 regions: Eastern Europe, Western Europe and North America. Multigroup comparisons with Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling examined the stability of factors across regions and regional differences in relations between PA and motives for PA.

Results:

Three PA motivation factors were identified as suitable for assessing international populations. There were significant regional, gender, and age differences in relations between PA and each of the 3 PA motives. Social and achievement motives were positively related to PA. However, the association of PA with health motivations varied significantly by region and gender. The patterns suggest the importance of social motives for PA and the possibility that health may not be a reliable motivator for adolescent PA.

Conclusion:

Programs to increase PA in adolescence need to determine which motives are effective for the particular population being targeted.

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Ronald J. Iannotti, James F. Sallis, Rusan Chen, Shelia L. Broyles, John P. Elder and Philip R. Nader

Background:

Longitudinal patterns in the development of physical activity (PA) and potential causal relationships between parent and child PA are examined.

Methods:

Autoregressive models were used to examine bidirectional prospective paths between parent and child PA in a longitudinal sample of 351 Anglo and Mexican American families. PA was assessed independently in children and parents over a 13-y period.

Results:

There was little evidence for a causal path from mother PA to child PA.

Conclusions:

Modeling does not appear to be the primary mechanism by which parents influence children’s PA behavior. Studies examining relations between parent and child behaviors should not rely on a single respondent for assessing both parent and child PA or on cross-sectional correlational data to make unidirectional causal inferences about determinants of child PA.