Associations among social capital, parenting for active lifestyles, and youth physical activity in rural families living in upstate New York
While emerging research supports a positive relationship between social capital and youth physical activity (PA), few studies have examined possible mechanisms explaining this relationship and no studies have focused on rural youth. In this study, we examined parents’ support of children’s PA as an intermediary factor linking social capital and youth PA in a largely rural cross sectional sample of American children aged 6- to 19-years and their parents/guardians (N=767 families) living in upstate New York. Parents completed a self-administered survey assessing demographic factors, perceived social capital, support for children’s PA, and children’s PA including time spent outdoors and days per week of sufficient PA. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesis that higher social capital is linked with higher parental support for PA and, in turn, higher PA in children. Analyses were conducted separately for younger (6–12 years) and older (13–19 years) children and controlled for demographic factors (child age, household education, participation in a food assistance program) and perceived neighborhood safety. Anticipated relationships among social capital, parents’ activity-related support, and children’s PA were identified for older, but not younger children. Findings suggest that parent support for children’s PA is one possible mechanism linking social capital and youth PA and the parents of adolescents may rely more heavily on cues from their social environment to shape their approaches to supporting their children’s PA than parents of younger children.
Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
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