Elementary schoolchildren's perceived competence and physical activity involvement: the influence of parents' role modelling behaviours and perceptions of their child's competence


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Abstract

Objectives:To study the influence of fathers' and mothers' physical activity involvement and perceptions of their children's physical competence upon children's perceptions of competence and children's time spent in physical activity. Two forms of parental socialization influence were assessed: the direct influence of parents' actual physical activity (PA) behaviour (role modelling) on children's physical activity and the indirect influence of parents' beliefs systems about their children's PA competence on children's physical activity through children's self perceptions.Methods:Longitudinal, with data from 152 French children (M=9.5 yrs, SD=0.8 yrs) and their parents collected at two times over a 12-month period and examined through structural equation modelling (SEM).Results:SEM indicated that mothers' role modelling behaviour had a direct effect on children's time spent in PA and that mothers' beliefs about their child's competence had an indirect effect on children's PA by influencing children's perceived competence which, in turn, contributed to children's level of physical activity involvement. Fathers' beliefs directly influenced their child's PA as did the children's own self-perceptions of competence.Conclusions:Parents can affect their children's PA involvement in direct and indirect manners through their role modelling of physical activity and through their beliefs about their child's competence. Furthermore, the influence of fathers and mothers may be manifested in different ways. Father and mother could influence their child's PA by different processes.

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