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Pedro Silva, Ryan Lott, Jorge Mota and Greg Welk

Social support (SS) from parents and peers are key reinforcing factors in the Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model. This study aims to identify the relative contribution of parental and peer SS on youth participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Participants included 203 high school students (n = 125 girls; mean age 14.99 ± 1.55 years). MVPA was assessed by accelerometry. SS influences were evaluated using a well-established scale. Structural equation modeling measured (AMOS, Version 19) the relative fit of the YPAP models using both parental and peer SS. Parental SS had significant associations with both predisposing factors, enjoyment (β = .62, p < .01), and self-efficacy (β= .32, p < .01), as well a direct effect on MVPA (β = .30, p < .01). Peer SS had direct effect on MVPA (β = .33, p < .05), also significantly influenced levels of enjoyment (β = .47, p < .01) and self-efficacy (β = .67, p < .01). In both models self-efficacy mediated the influence on MVPA. The direct effects for parents and peers were similar. This demonstrates that both parental and peer social support exert a strong influence on adolescent MVPA.

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Pedro Silva, Ryan Lott, K. A. S. Wickrama, Jorge Mota and Greg Welk


If the Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model adequately explains youth physical activity (PA) in 2 different cultures and with 2 different sets of instruments, it would suggest that the model has broad utility for youth activity promotion.


Two samples from different countries were used: sample 1—USA, 159 students (n = 83 girls) mean age 11.52 ± 1.40 years; sample 2—Portugal, 203 students (n = 125 girls) mean age 14.99 ± 1.55 years. PA was assessed by accelerometry. The YPAP model was analyzed through structural equation modeling using AMOS (version 17.0).


In sample 1, social-support had a direct association on MVPA (β = .58, P < .001), enjoyment (β = .70, P < .05), and self-efficacy (β = –.66, P < .001). Enjoyment significantly predicted MVPA (β = .60, P < .001) and self-efficacy significantly predicted MVPA (β = .55, P < .001). In sample 2, social-support had a direct effect on MVPA (β = .33, P < .05), significantly predicted enjoyment (β = –.43, P < .001), and significantly predicted self-efficacy (β = .63, P < .001). Self-efficacy was a significant predictor of MVPA (β = .14, P < .001) but enjoyment was not.


Differences were noted in the nature of the relationships and the relative importance. Self-efficacy and social support had significant effects on MVPA in both samples—despite differences in the way that they were measured and operationalized.