Parental atitude

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Health Psychology 2009, Vol. 28, No. 4, 428 – 438

© 2009 American Psychological Association 0278-6133/09/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0014522

Parent–Child Attitude Congruence on Type and Intensity of Physical Activity: Testing Multiple Mediators of Sedentary Behavior in Older Children
Cheryl B. Anderson and Sheryl O. Hughes
Baylor College of Medicine

Bernard F. Fuemmeler
Duke UniversityMedical Center

Objective: This study examined parent– child attitudes on value of specific types and intensities of physical activity, which may explain gender differences in child activity, and evaluated physical activity as a mechanism to reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors. Design: A community sample of 681 parents and 433 children (mean age 9.9 years) reported attitudes on importance ofvigorous and moderate intensity team and individually performed sports/activities, as well as household chores. Separate structural models (LISREL 8.7) for girls and boys tested whether parental attitudes were related to child TV and computer via child attitudes, sport team participation, and physical activity, controlling for demographic factors. Main Outcome Measures: Child 7-day physical activity,sport teams, weekly TV, computer. Results: Parent– child attitude congruence was more prevalent among boys, and attitudes varied by ethnicity, parent education, and number of children. Positive parent– child attitudes for vigorous team sports were related to increased team participation and physical activity, as well as reduced TV and computer in boys and girls. Value of moderate intensityhousehold chores, such as cleaning house and doing laundry, was related to decreased team participation and increased TV in boys. Only organized team sports, not general physical activity, was related to reduced TV and computer. Conclusion: Results support parents’ role in socializing children’s achievement task values, affecting child activity by transferring specific attitudes. Value of vigorousintensity sports provided the most benefits to activity and reduction of sedentary behavior, while valuing household chores had unexpected negative effects. Keywords: parental influence, gender, motivation, activity displacement, task value

Population-wide declines in physical activity and the stability of sedentary behavior patterns begun in adolescence, or even earlier in childhood, have beenidentified as behavioral factors in the rise of obesity among children and adolescents over the past two decades (Gordon-Larsen, Nelson, & Popkin, 2004). Physicians and health professionals have been urged to encourage parents to increase children’s physical activity and limit sedentary activities, such as TV viewing, as target behaviors in the effort of obesity prevention (Barlow, 2007), however, therelationship between physical activity and sedentary behavior remains unclear (Marshall, Biddle, Gorely, Cameron, & Murdey, 2004). Moreover, the mechanisms by which these relationships operate and are estab-

lished in youth remain unknown. It is unclear if physical activity may act as a protective mechanism to reduce sedentary behavior, what types of physical activity might lead to suchdecreases, how parental and child attitudes may be involved, and whether ethnicity and other demographic variables may impact these mediating processes. Understanding the mediating mechanisms of behaviors has become an important focus of research on obesity prevention to provide critical information that can be used to design more effective interventions (Baranowski, Anderson, & Carmack, 1998).Process Models of Parent Socialization
Parents act as gatekeepers of behavior, especially in young children, but even more importantly, parents indirectly affect child behavior by influencing the attitudes and cognitions that children develop (Eccles et al., 1983; Mead, 1934). Some theories related to children’s achievement motivation and behavior have specifically emphasized parental influence and...