Are the Physical Activity Parenting Practices Reported by US and Canadian Parents Captured in Currently Published Instruments?

J Phys Act Health. 2016 Oct;13(10):1070-1078. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2016-0012. Epub 2016 Aug 16.


Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the physical activity parenting practices (PAPPs) parents report using with the PAPPs incorporated in the published literature.

Methods: PAPPs in the literature were identified by reviewing the content of 74 published PAPP measures obtained from current systematic reviews supplemented with a literature search. The types of PAPPs used by parents were identified by surveying a stratified sample of 134 Canadian and US parents of 5- to 12 year-old children. Items from the literature and parent responses were coded using the same coding scheme. Differences between the PAPPs emphasized by the parents and the literature were examined.

Results: Parents significantly emphasized different issues than what is measured in the literature (P < .001). Parents emphasized more control (13.6% vs. 6.9%), modeling and teaching (13.2% vs. 9.2%), and structural strategies (32.2% vs. 28.6%) and less autonomy support (11.8% vs. 14.0%), logistical support (9.9% vs. 12.8%), and responsiveness strategies (19.3% vs. 28.5%).

Conclusions: Physical activity practices most often employed by parents are not the ones emphasized in current measures. The extent to which putting more emphasis on the areas identified by parents will increase the predictive validity of the measures warrants further examination.

Keywords: behavior; children; item bank; psychometrics; questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Exercise*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Parenting*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States

Grants and funding