Interactions of Socioeconomic
Position with Psychosocial and
Environmental Correlates of
Children’s Physical Activity:
An Observational Study of
South Australian Families
James Dollman and Nicole R. Lewis
Evidence for psychosocial and environmental correlates on childrens physi-
cal activity is scattered and somewhat unconvincing. Further, the moderat-
ing inuences of socioeconomic position (SEP) on these inuences are large-
ly unexplored. e aim of this study was to examine the interactions of SEP,
136 Social Work and Child Services
operationalised by mother education, and predictors of childrens physical ac-
tivity based on the Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model.
In 2005, a sample of South Australians (10–15 y) was surveyed on psycho-
social and environmental correlates of physical activity using the Childrens
Physical Activity Correlates Questionnaire (n = 3300) and a parent survey
(n = 1720). e following constructs were derived: ‘is it worth it?’ (perceived
outcomes); ‘am I able?’ (perceived competency); ‘reinforcing’ (parental sup-
port); and ‘enabling’ (parent-perceived barriers). Self-reported physical ac-
tivity was represented by a global score derived from the Physical Activity
Questionnaire for Adolescents. Associations among physical activity and hy-
pothesised correlates were tested among children with mothers of high (uni-
versity educated) and low (left school at or before 15 y) SEP.
Among high SEP children, ‘is it worth it?’ emerged as a signicant predictor
of physical activity for boys and girls. Among low SEP children, ‘is it worth
it?’ predicted boys’ physical activity, while among girls, ‘reinforcing’ was the
only signicant predictor, explaining ~35% of the total explained variance
in physical activity.
While perceived outcomes emerged as a consistent predictor of physical ac-
tivity in this sample, parental support was a powerful limiting factor among
low SEP girls. Interventions among this high risk group should focus on sup-
porting parents to provide both emotional and instrumental support for their
daughters to engage in physical activity.
Physical inactivity and high sedentariness have been associated with negative
health outcomes for both adults [1] and children [2]. ere is widespread evi-
dence for poorer health among adults [3] and children [4-6] of low socioeco-
nomic position (SEP), across a range of health indicators. Gradients in physi-
cal activity behaviours that parallel SEP gradients in health have been reported
among adults [7] and children [8-12]. A recent study [10] identied inverse as-
sociations among SEP and screen-based leisure time in South Australian youth,
while the same trend has also been reported from various European countries [11]
and the United States [8]. Furthermore, there have been more marked declines in
active transport between school and home, school sport, and physical education

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