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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 urban children's active commuting to school

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

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2009
Publication Date: 2/1/2010
Citation: Mendoza, J., Watson, K., Uscanga, D., Baranowski, T., Nicklas, T., Hanfling, M. 2010. Parent, psycho-social, and household factors associated with urban children's active commuting to school [abstract]. In: Active Living Research Annual Conference Abstract Book, February 9-11, 2010, San Diego, CA. p. 55.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Active commuting to school (ACS), i.e. walking or cycling to school, has been proposed as a method to increase 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. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between ACS and (1) children’s self-efficacy for ACS and (2) parents' self-efficacy and outcome expectations for allowing their child to use ACS. A cross-sectional analysis of baseline measurements was utilized from a sample of participants (n=133) 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 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 age, gender, race/ethnicity, BMI percentile, and household income were independent socio-demographic variables. The bivariate relationships between ACS with parent self-efficacy, parent outcome expectations, child self-efficacy, household income, and child characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, BMI percentile) were assessed with analyses of variance and chi-square tests of independence. A stepwise logistic regression model was used to assess the relationships simultaneously. Results from the bivariate relationships indicated that ACS was significantly associated with household income (p=0.001), parent self-efficacy (p=0.010), parent outcome expectations (p=0.014), and child’s age (p=0.028). Results from the stepwise logistic regression model yielded a model explaining 17.5% of the variance and exhibiting good fit (X^2HL=12.29, df=8, p=0.139). In the model, parent self-efficacy (p=.044) and household income (p=0.033) were retained. For each unit increase in parent self-efficacy, the children were over two times more likely (OR=2.4, 95%CI=1.0, 5.5) to use ACS. Children from homes with an annual income of =<$30,000 per year were over four times more likely (OR=4.3, 95%CI=1.6, 11.3) to use ACS. Greater parent self-efficacy and lower household income were associated with greater children’s ACS. Programs to improve parent self-efficacy and more walk to school programs, specifically designed for different socio-economic status families are warranted.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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