Advertisement

Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 591–601 | Cite as

What are the drivers of cross-generational physical activity? Exploring the experiences of children and parents

  • K. FreireEmail author
  • R. Pope
  • J. Coyle
Original Article
  • 125 Downloads

Abstract

Aim

Little is known about what drives engagement in physical activity involving children and parents together. To date, when this phenomenon has been studied, the focus has been upon parent support for child physical activity, ignoring the child perspective. This article explores child and parent drivers of cross-generational physical activity.

Methods

A qualitative, hermeneutic methodology was employed. Primary school children and parents took part in semi-structured focus groups, family unit interviews, and individual interviews. Data was transcribed and analysed thematically.

Results

Engagement in cross-generational physical activity was driven by much more than physical health benefits. Emotional and relational drivers of cross-generational physical activity were identified, highlighting the mostly positive impacts it had upon both family and child–parent relationships by providing connecting and bonding experiences. Children identified it as a unique physical activity partnership, which provided a safe context for practising their sporting skills. Parents reported that cross-generational physical activity facilitated parenting by providing opportunities for them to teach and nurture important life skills, while also providing their child with support for physical activity. Holidays were identified as a time when the focus of physical activity for families was more often cross-generational.

Conclusion

Cross-generational physical activity is a complex, bi-directional physical activity partnership that takes place within a child–parent relationship, within a family. Its drivers are manifold, extending well beyond the dose of physical activity it provides, to strengthening relationships and skill development. Future research should include the child’s voice to provide a more holistic view of this phenomenon.

Keywords

Cross-generational physical activity Child Parent Ecological model Qualitative research Drivers 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank all the participants for sharing their experiences, the NSW Department of Education for permitting their schools to engage with the study, and each of the schools, both public and independent for their engagement with the research.

Funding

The authors declare that no funding or grants were obtained for the study. The study was part of the corresponding author’s PhD program of research which was funded by a scholarship from the university that the author is associated with.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Bauman A, Reis R, Sallis J, Wells J, Loos R, Martin B (2012) Correlates of physical activity: why are some people physically active and others not? Lancet 380:258–271CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Beets M, Cardinal B, Alderman B (2010) Parental social support and the physical activity related behaviors of youth: a review. Health Educ Behav 37:621–644CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Boreham C, Riddoch C (2001) The physical activity, fitness and health of children. J Sports Sci 19:915–929CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Boutell K, Eisenberg M, Gregory M, Neumark-Sztainer D (2009) The reciprocal relationship between parent–child connectedness and adolescent emotional functioning over 5 years. J Psychosom Res 66:309–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bronfenbrenner U (1989) Ecological systems theory, vol 6. JAI Press, GreenwichGoogle Scholar
  6. Brunton G, Harden A, Rees R, Kavanagh J, Oliver S, Oakley A (2003) Children and physical activity: a systematic review of barriers and facilitators. EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, University of London, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Butler S, Gross J, Hayne H (1995) The effect of drawing on memory performance in young children. Dev Psychol 31:597–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cockburn C, Clarke G (2002) “Everybody’s looking at you!” Girls negotiating the “feminine deficit” they incur in physical education. Women’s Stud Int Forum 25:651–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fleming V, Gaidys U, Robb Y (2003) Hermeneutic research in nursing: developing a Gadamerian-based research method. Nurs Inq 10:113–120CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Freire K, Coyle J, Pope R (2018) Exploring cross-generational physical activity: who are the gate-keepers? Aust J Public Health May 2018:1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-018-0927-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Giles-Corti B, Timperio A, Bull F, Pikora T (2005) Understanding physical activity environmental correlates: increased specificity for ecological models. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 33:175–181CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Haye K, Heer H, Wilkinson A, Koehly L (2014) Predictors of parent–child relationships that support physical activity in Mexican-American families. J Behav Med 37:234–244CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Horstman M, Aldiss S, Richardson A, Gordon F (2008) Methodological issues when using draw and write technique with children aged 6–12 years. Qual Health Res 18:1001–1011CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kinsella E (2006) Hermeneutics and critical hermeneutics: exploring possibilities within the art of interpretation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 7 Art 19. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs
  15. Lezin N, Rolleri L, Bean S, Taylor J (2004) Parent–child connectedness: implications for research, interventions, and positive impacts on adolescent health. ETR Associates, Scotts Valley CAGoogle Scholar
  16. Liamputtong P (2007) Researching the vulnerable: a guide to sensitive research methods. Sage Publications, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Minichello V, Aroni R, Timewell E, Alexander L (1996) In-depth interviewing, 2nd edn. Addison Wesley Longman, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  18. Patton M (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CAGoogle Scholar
  19. Rhodes R, Berry T, Craig C, Faulkner G, Latimer-Cheung A, Spence J, Tremblay M (2013) Understanding parental support of child physical activity behavior. Am J Health Behav 37:469–477CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Ryan R, Williams G, Patrick H, Deci E (2009) Self-determination theory and physical activity: the dynamics of motivation in development and wellness. Hell J Psychol 6:107–124Google Scholar
  21. Scanlan T, Lewthwaite R (1986) Social psychological aspects of competition for male youth sport participants: predictors of enjoyment. J Sport Psychol 8:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Spurr S, Bally J, Trinder K, Williamson L (2016) A multidimensional investigation into the predictors of physical activity in Canadian adolescents. J Holist Nurs 20:390–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stanley R, Boshoff K, Dollman J (2012) A qualitative exploration of the ‘critical window’: factors affecting Australian children’s after school physical activity. J Phys Act Health 10:33–41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Steinberg L, Fletcher A, Darling N (1994) Parental monitoring and peer influences on adolescent substance use. Paediatrics 93:1060–1064Google Scholar
  25. Thompson J, Jago R, Brockman R, Cartwright K, Page A, Fox K (2009) Physically active families — de-bunking the myth? A qualitative study of family participation in physical activity. Child Care Health Dev 36:265–274CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Vanderworp G, Ryan S (2016) Parents’ perception of their influence on their child’s physical activity. J Child Health Care 20:37–45CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. World Health Organisation (2004) Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health. WHO, Geneva. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/goals/en/. Accessed 22 June 2013Google Scholar
  28. Wright M, Wilson D, Giffin S, Evans A (2010) A qualitative study of parent modelling and social support for physical activity in underserved adolescents. Health Educ Res 25:224–232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Yao C, Rhodes R (2015) Parental correlates in child and adolescent physical activity: a meta-analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 12:10CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles Sturt UniversityThurgoonaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Community HealthCharles Sturt UniversityThurgoonaAustralia
  3. 3.University of WollongongWollongongAustralia

Personalised recommendations