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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Parent, psycho-social, and household factors associated with children's active commuting to school

item Mendoza, Jason
item Watson, Kathy
item Baranowski, Tom
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Uscanga, Doris
item Hanfling, Marcus

Submitted to: Pediatric Academic Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2010
Publication Date: 5/1/2010
Citation: Mendoza, J.A., Watson, K., Baranowski, T., Nicklas, T.A., Uscanga, D.K., Hanfling, M.J. 2010. Parent, psycho-social, and household factors associated with children's active commuting to school [abstract]. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, May 1-4, 2010, Vancouver, Canada. 2010 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Active commuting to school (ACS), i.e. walking or cycling to school, has been associated with higher levels of physical activity. Few studies have examined children's ACS using the framework of behavior change theory. This study used social cognitive theory as the framework. To examine the relationship between ACS and (1) children's self-efficacy for ACS and (2) parent's self-efficacy and outcome expectations for allowing their child to do ACS. A cross-sectional analysis of baseline measurements from a sample of participants (n=149) aged 8-11 years and one of their parents or guardians from an ongoing walk to school intervention study in Houston, TX. The dependent variable of % of weekly ACS (% ACS) was assessed each day for 5-days by a previously validated questionnaire. Child self-efficacy (alpha=0.75), parent self-efficacy (alpha=0.88), and parent outcome expectations (alpha=0.78) questionnaires were independent variables, adapted from previously validated surveys for physical activity. Child characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, and BMI percentile) were independent socio-demographic variables. The bivariate relationships between ACS with parent self-efficacy, parent outcome expectations, child self-efficacy, parent education and child characteristics were assessed with analysis of variance and Pearson correlations. A linear mixed regression model was used to assess the relationships simultaneously while controlling for the clustering of schools. Bivariate analyses indicated that % ACS was significantly associated with parent outcome expectations (p=0.046), child's age (p=0.005) and had a trend toward significance for parent self-efficacy (p=0.064). Results from the stepwise linear regression yielded a model explaining 7.3% of the variance. In the model, parent self-efficacy (p=.027), age (p=.012), and child self-efficacy (p=0.066) were retained. For each unit increase in parent self-efficacy, childrens % ACS was increased by 1% whereas a unit increase in child self-efficacy resulted in a non-significant 1% decrease in ACS. Not surprisingly, each year increase in age resulted in a 12% increase in % ACS. Greater parent self-efficacy and children's age were associated with greater children's ACS. Programs to improve parent self-efficacy and that target younger children to do ACS are warranted.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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