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Title: Determinants of leisure-time physical activity among early adolescents
Author: Inchley, Joanna Catherine
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2009
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A physically active lifestyle is now recognised as an essential component of healthy living. As well as longer term health gains, physical activity during childhood promotes optimal growth and development, helps prevent overweight and obesity, protects against risk factors for cardiovascular disease and enhances psychological wellbeing. However, evidence suggests that many young people are not sufficiently active to benefit their health. In order to inform the development of effective interventions, there is a need to understand the factors which influence physical activity participation among young people in Scotland. The aim of this study was to investigate modifiable determinants of physical activity among early adolescents during the period of transition from primary to secondary school. Drawing on a multidisciplinary perspective, within a socio-ecological framework, the relative influence of psychological, social and environmental factors was examined. Data were collected longitudinally as part of the Physical Activity in Scottish Schoolchildren (PASS) study. In total, 1099 children who completed a questionnaire in both Primary 7 (age 11 years) and Secondary 2 (age 13 years) were included. The results show that boys were significantly more active, reported more favourable psychological profiles and had greater support from fathers and peers for being active, than girls. A range of psychological, social and environmental variables were significantly associated with physical activity, of which psychological factors accounted for the greatest proportion of variance in behaviour. Intention to be active was the most consistent predictor of physical activity across age and gender groups. Combined psycho-social-environmental models explained around two-fifths of the variance in physical activity among boys and around a third of the variance among girls. Physical activity participation in P7 was predictive of participation in S2, indicating that early involvement increases the likelihood that young people will continue to be active as they get older. The results support the need for integrated, multifaceted approaches to physical activity promotion among the early adolescent population in Scotland, addressing influences at the individual and supra-individual level. Age and gender were moderators of physical activity behaviour, demonstrating the importance of understanding gender-specific determinants within a developmental context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available