Parental influences on 7- 9 year olds' physical activity: a conceptual model

Document Type


Publication Date



Objective—Models characterizing parental influence on child and adolescent physical activity (PA) over time are limited. Preschool and Adolescent Models (PM and AM) of PA are available leaving the need to focus on elementary-aged children. We tested current models (PM and AM) with a sample of 7–9 year-olds, and then developed a model appropriate to this specific target population. Methods—Parent–child dyads completed questionnaires in 2010–2011. All models were assessed using path analysis and model fit indices. Results—For adequate power, 90 families were needed, with 174 dyads participating. PM and AM exhibited poor fit when applied to the study population. A gender-specific model was developed and demonstrated acceptable fit. To develop an acceptable model for this population, constructs from both the PM (i.e. parental perception of child competency) and AM (i.e., childreported self-efficacy) were used. For boys, self-efficacy was a strong predictor of PA, which was influenced by various parental variables. For girls, parental PA demonstrated the greatest strength of association with child PA.Conclusion—This new model can be used to promote PA and guide future research/ interventions. Future studies, particularly longitudinal designs, are needed to confirm the utility of this model as a bridge between currently available models.