Exploring Parents’ Beliefs About Their Young Child’s Physical Activity and Screen Time Behaviours

Research paper by Kyra Hamilton, Denise Hatzis, David J. Kavanagh, Katherine M. White

Indexed on: 13 Nov '14Published on: 13 Nov '14Published in: Journal of child and family studies


Drawing on the belief-based framework of the theory of planned behaviour, 20 adults living in Queensland, Australia participated in semi-structured interviews to elicit salient beliefs regarding their young child’s physical activity (PA) and screen time behaviours. Data were analysed separately for PA and screen time with a range of beliefs emerging that guided parents’ decisions for these important health behaviours. Underlying advantages (e.g., improve family interactions, improve child behaviour), disadvantages (e.g., mess and noise factor, increase in parental distress), barriers (e.g., lack of time, parental fatigue), and facilitators (e.g., access to parks, social support) to engaging their child in adequate PA and limited screen time emerged. Normative pressures were also identified as affecting parents’ decisions for their child in these contexts. Parents experience unique difficulties in engaging their child in adequate PA and limited screen time that interventions can draw on when designing and implementing programs aimed at modifying these important child health behaviours.