Does your child value physical activity? (PART II)

Does your child value physical activity? Part 2


Hey guys! We’re back again with the topic of why adolescents are physically active.  Check back to last week’s article for more specifics, but the main thing to know going forward is that perceptions of competency and social influences are being examined to see what kind of relationship they have with physical activity.

So now that I’ve given you the necessary background information (or bored you to death), let’s get to the study.

The purpose of this study was to examine the structural relationships among older adolescents’ self-perceptions, social influences, and physical activity. So, the authors wanted to see the interplay between these three factors.

I won’t bore you with the authors’ hypotheses or how they set up the study, mostly because when I first read it looked like this:



It was like trying to read Klingon.

star trek


Unfortunately for me, I was a dork in high school because of       comic books and The Legend of Zelda, not for any love of Star Trek, which is for nerds.

Just know that the data was received from Canadian teens between 15 and 18 years of age.



Here’s what the study found:

  • Competence beliefs and values were strong correlates of physical activity.
  • Both parent and best friend influences were correlates of competence beliefs and value.
  • Perceptions of competence and value mediated the effects of parent and best friend influences on physical activity.

I’d like to take a second (if you'd just sit right there) to stress that this study was only looking for correlations, NOT causations. We can only assume that manipulating one thing can lead to a change in another, but that was not the aim of the study.

So the study explored how the EV model applies in understanding PA in older adolescents.

Developmental perspectives associated with behavioral influences were supported; particularly that parents continue to be a source of physical activity self-perceptions into older adolescence, BUT parent influences are not as important when compared to peer influences. So basically, when your kids reach high school, they’ll listen to their friends before they listen to you. Awesome. Where’s the wine?

As I mentioned before, when it comes to the gender differences, males reported greater perceptions of competence, value, and physical activity. Some possible reasons include:

  • Parent/guardian stereotypes support the traditional notion that males should be better at sports and physical activity.
  • Sport and physical activity are seen as more masculine in society.
  • Links between sport competence, sport skills, and male self-esteem.

These differences are not significant, however, so don’t stress over them. Males’ and females’ perceptions of competence and values are impacted similarly by peer and parent influences, and in turn, their physical activity levels are similarly impacted.

So how can we apply this information?

First, we can use this as a guide for how to encourage older adolescents in their pursuits. Suggesting activities they will feel competent in is a good start; think of this as setting them up for success.

Second, let your beliefs be known. If you are reading this, it is likely that being physically active is something you value. Communicating to your children that physical activity is important to you seems to be more vital than simply letting them see you be physically active.

Finally, choose your child’s friends; they’ll listen to them more than they listen to you. Ha ha. But seriously.