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Title: The relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and wellbeing in children from low socioeconomic status
Author: Rafferty, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 7897
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2015
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The aim of this thesis was to investigate the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and wellbeing in children from low socioeconomic status in Northern Ireland. Previous research in children's health has reported positive relationships between physical activity and wellbeing and negative relationships between sedentary behaviour and wellbeing; however the relationships are not as convincing for children as they are for adults. Methodological and measurement inconsistencies have been cited as possible reasons for the lack of clarity in children (Biddle & Asare, 2011). A series of four studies were conducted to overcome the measurement inconsistencies of previous research. A systematic literature review of school-based physical activity interventions on children's wellbeing included 17 studies from 774 studies identified (Study 1). The findings were mixed with seven studies reporting that physical activity significantly increased wellbeing, nine found no effect and one found a negative effect. The inconsistent approach to the measurement of wellbeing was attributed as being the main barrier in drawing conclusions regarding the effect of physical activity interventions on children's wellbeing. The review concluded by recommending that a measure of child wellbeing developed from the child's perspective be used in future research as a more valid and reliable measure of wellbeing. KIDSCREEN-52, a self-report subjective measure of wellbeing for children, was identified as one such measure. However, it became apparent that KIDSCREEN-52 had not been validated in a Northern Ireland sample of children aged 8-9 years from low socioeconomic status (SES). Study 2 assessed the factor structure, internal consistency reliability with 412 children and the test-retest reliability of the KIDSCREEN-52 questionnaire with 119 children. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the 10-dimension model of KIDSCREEN-52 was an adequate fit for children from low SES in Northern Ireland. All dimensions were internally consistent. Autonomy did not reach the required threshold (0.6) for testretest reliability. The relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and wellbeing (KIDSCREEN-52) was assessed with children from low SES controlling for gender, body mass index (BMI) and sedentary behaviour or MVPA as potential covariates (Study 3). The main findings of this cross-sectional study showed that mainly positive associations were shown for objectively measured physical activity intensities with wellbeing. In contrast, self-report screen behaviours were negatively correlated with aspects of wellbeing, while objectively measured sedentary behaviour was not significantly correlated with any wellbeing dimensions. Children who spent 2 hours or less a day engaged in screen based sedentary behaviours had a significantly higher median rating of psychological wellbeing than those children who spent more than 2 hours in the same pursuits. These findings indicate that the type of sedentary behaviour is important in the relationship with wellbeing, rather than being sedentary per se. An intervention designed to reduce screen based sedentary behaviours was recommended to determine if sedentary behaviour caused an effect on the wellbeing of children from low SES. The final study (Study 4) assessed the effectiveness of a novel holistic theory-driven school-based sedentary behaviour intervention (Stand Up for Children's Health (SUCH)) on reducing sedentary behaviour, screen time, increasing physical activity and wellbeing in 8-9 year old children from low SES. The intervention group did not significantly reduce their sedentary behaviour, screen time or significantly improve their physical activity or wellbeing. Hence, it is not clear if reducing sedentary behaviour, including screen behaviours, effects wellbeing in children from low SES. Recommendations for further research into the correlates and theory of behaviour change of screen based sedentary behaviour in children from low SES are suggested. The programme of work contributes to the knowledge base by showing that: the measurement of child wellbeing in school-based physical activity interventions is inconsistent; that using a measure of wellbeing as perceived by the children (KIDSCREEN-52) is valid and reliable with children aged 8-9 years from low SES in Northern Ireland, and that complex and novel relationships exist between KIDSCREEN-52 and physical activity and sedentary behaviour with children aged 8-9 years from low SES. Furthermore, a novel school-based sedentary behaviour intervention (Study 4) highlighted the difficulty in reducing sedentary behaviours in children from low SES with further research recommended to examine how to achieve this and clarify the effect on their wellbeing. Taken collectively the findings from each study have implications for those promoting healthy lifestyles to children in school settings.
Supervisor: Breslin, Gavin ; Brennan, Deirdre ; Hassan, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available