What are the drivers of cross-generational physical activity? Exploring the experiences of children and parents
- 125 Downloads
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.
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.
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.
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.
KeywordsCross-generational physical activity Child Parent Ecological model Qualitative research Drivers
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.
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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bronfenbrenner U (1989) Ecological systems theory, vol 6. JAI Press, GreenwichGoogle Scholar
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Minichello V, Aroni R, Timewell E, Alexander L (1996) In-depth interviewing, 2nd edn. Addison Wesley Longman, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
- Patton M (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd edn. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CAGoogle Scholar
- 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
- Steinberg L, Fletcher A, Darling N (1994) Parental monitoring and peer influences on adolescent substance use. Paediatrics 93:1060–1064Google Scholar