Patterns of Physical Activity Parenting Practices and Their Association With Children's Physical Activity Behaviors

Child Obes. 2023 May 31. doi: 10.1089/chi.2022.0226. Online ahead of print.


Background: Little is known about how parents combine multiple physical activity (PA) parenting practices (PAPP) and their relationship with their child's activity level. This study examined patterns of PAPP and their associations with sociodemographic characteristics and children's PA. Methods: Parents of 5- to 12-year-olds (n = 618) completed the 65-items PAPP item-bank assessing their use of structured, autonomy promoting, and controlling PAPP, and reported their child's PA. Latent class analysis was used to uncover similar groups of parents based on their use of nine PAPP. Regression analyses evaluated associations between the latent classes, sociodemographic factors, and children's PA. Results: Four latent classes emerged: (1) Indifferent (30%)-parents who were unlikely to use any of the PAPP examined; (2) Coercive (23%)-parents using primarily controlling PAPP; (3) Involved (19%)-parents using most PAPP examined; and (4) Supportive (28%)-parents using primarily structured and autonomy promoting PAPP. Involved parents were younger than Indifferent and Supportive parents. Supportive parents reported the highest level of children's PA compared with all other groups, whereas Coercive parents reported the lowest level of children's PA. Conclusions: Our findings showed that different latent classes exist among Canadian parents and that the combination of structured and autonomy promoting PAPP, when used without control, was associated with the highest PA level among children. The emergent latent classes are novel, theoretically meaningful, and key to inform family-based PA interventions.

Keywords: children; latent class analysis; parents; physical activity; physical activity parenting practices.