Using mixed methods to understand women's parenting practices related to their child's outdoor play and physical activity among families living in diverse neighborhood environments

Health Place. 2020 Mar;62:102292. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2020.102292. Epub 2020 Feb 5.


A convergent parallel mixed methods design was used to understand parenting practices for outdoor play, their influence on adolescent's physical activity and outdoor play and the role of the neighborhood and child's sex. Adolescents (n = 263) and their parents completed questionnaires and wore accelerometers. Parents (n = 30) participated in in-depth interviews. Parenting practices were examined by neighborhood disadvantage and child's sex in quantitative (Chi-square and T-tests) and qualitative (comparative thematic analysis) samples. Multi-level linear mixed models examined the associations between parenting practices and two adolescent outcomes: physical activity and outdoor play. Parents in high disadvantage neighborhoods and of female adolescents imposed more restrictions on outdoor play. Restrictive parenting practices were negatively associated with outdoor play, but not physical activity. Policy and environment change that improves neighborhood conditions may be necessary to reduce parents' fear and lessen restrictions on outdoor play.

Keywords: Independent mobility; Mixed methods; Neighborhood disadvantage; Outdoor play; Parenting practices; Physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States