Submitted to: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2008
Publication Date: 5/27/2009
Citation: Masse, L.C., Anderson, C.B., Coleman, K.J., Zhang, H., Chang, S. 2009. Correlates of child activity and television: The contribution of children's athletic identity [abstract]. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 41(5):S503. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: There is evidence that athletic self-concept can be both an important outcome and/or a mediating variable for physical activity in children and adolescents. However much less is known about the relationship between sedentary behaviors, such as television with athletic self-concept. This study examined the contribution of children's athletic self-concept to physical activity and sedentary behavior over and above effects of demographic factors related to child activity. Two age groups of children (N=1503) completed the 40-item Athletic Identity Questionnaire (AIQ), measuring athletic appearance, competence, importance of physical activity and sports, and encouragement for activity from parents, teachers, and friends. Hierarchial multiple regression analysis assessed the effects of athletic identity, ethnic group, gender, and overweight status on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and television watching in each age group. Secondary analyses considered the contribution of each factor of athletic identity to both behavioral outcomes. In both age groups of children, the global score of athletic identity was independently related to physical activity (p<.0001, p<.0001) and television (p=.01, p=.002). More variance in physical activity was explained in younger (23%) than older children (5%), with almost equal amounts for television across age (2%, 4%). Secondary analyses showed that relationships for competence, importance, and parental encouragement persisted independent of the effects of demographic factors on behavior. Results support the potential role of athletic self-concept in promoting exercise, sports, and physical activity behavior, but provide less support for substantially reducing time spent watching television. Although the positive influence of self-concept operated over and above the effects of gender, ethnicity, and overweight status, these demographic variables influence specific self-conceptions, which should be recognized in the development of interventions to change active and sedentary behaviors.