Parental correlates in child and adolescent physical activity: a meta-analysis




Yao, Christopher A
Rhodes, Ryan E.

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Journal ISSN

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity


Objective: Physical activity (PA) has a profound impact on health and development in children. Parental behaviors (i.e., modeling and support) represent an obvious important factor in child PA. The purpose of this paper was to provide a comprehensive meta-analysis that overcomes the limitations of prior narrative reviews and quantitative reviews with small samples. Methods: Ten major databases were used in the literature search. One-hundred and fifteen studies passed the eligibility criteria. Both fixed and random effects models with correction for sampling and measurement error were examined in the analysis. Moderator analyses investigating the effects of child’s developmental age, study design, parental gender, measurement of child PA, and quality rating were performed. Results: Based on the random effects model, the results showed that parental modeling was weakly associated with child PA (summary r = .16, 95% CI .09-.24) and none of the proposed moderators were significant. Separate analyses examining the moderating effects of parental gender and boys’ PA found that that father-son PA modeling (r = .29, 95% CI .21-.36) was significantly higher compared to mother-son PA (r = .19, 95% CI .14-.23; p < .05). However, parental gender did not moderate the relationship between parental modeling and girls’ PA (p > .05). The random effects model indicated an overall moderate effect size for the parental support and child PA relationship (summary r = .38, 95% CI .30-.46). Here, the only significant moderating variable was the measurement of child PA (objective: r = .20, 95% CI .13-.26; reported: r = .46, 95% CI .37-.55; p < .01). Conclusions: Parental support and modeling relate to child PA, yet our results revealed a significant degree of heterogeneity among the studies that could not be explained well by our proposed moderators.


BioMed Central


Preschool, Childhood, Adolescence, Physical activity, Parental support, Parental role modeling, Parental behaviours, Meta-analysis, Review


Yao and Rhodes: Parental correlates in child and adolescent physical activity: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2015) 12:10