Examining a conceptual model of parental nurturance, parenting practices and physical activity among 5-6 year olds

Simon J Sebire*, Russell Jago, Lesley Wood, Janice Thompson, Jesmond Zahra, Debbie A Lawlor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
330 Downloads (Pure)


Rationale: Parenting is an often-studied correlate of children’s physical activity, however there is little research examining the associations between parenting styles, practices and the physical activity of younger children.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether physical activity-based parenting practices mediate the association between parenting styles and 5 to 6 year-old children’s objectively-assessed physical activity.

Methods: 770 parents self-reported parenting style (nurturance and control) and physical activity-based parenting practices (logistic and modelling support). Their 5 to6 year old child wore an accelerometer for five days to measure moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Linear regression was used to examine direct and indirect (mediation) associations. Data were collected in the United Kingdom in 2012/13 and analyzed in 2014.

Results: Parent nurturance was positively associated with provision of modelling (adjusted unstandardized coefficient, β = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.02, 0.21) and logistic support (β = 0.14; 0.07, 0.21). Modelling support was associated with greater child MVPA (β = 2.41; 0.23, 4.60) and a small indirect path from parent nurturance to child’s MVPA was identified (β = 0.27; 0.04, 0.70).

Conclusions: Physical activity-based parenting practices are more strongly associated with 5 to 6 year old children’s MVPA than parenting styles. Further research examining conceptual models of parenting is needed to understand in more depth the possible antecedents to adaptive parenting practices beyond parenting styles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 13/11/2015


  • Children
  • Mediation
  • Parenting
  • Physical activity


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