School social fragmentation, economic deprivation and social cohesion and adolescent physical inactivity: A longitudinal study

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine the independent influence of school economic deprivation, social fragmentation, and social cohesion on the likelihood of participating in no physical activity among students. METHODS: Data are from a large-scale longitudinal study of schools based in disadvantaged communities in Quebec, Canada. Questionnaires were administered every year between 2002 and 2008 among n = 14,924 students aged 12 to 18 from a sample of 70 schools. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted. Multilevel modeling was utilized to account for the clustering of students within schools. Schools were categorized as being low, moderate or high economic deprivation, social fragmentation and social cohesion. Those who indicated that they do no participate in any physical activity during the week were identified as being physically inactive. RESULTS: In baseline multilevel cross-sectional analyses, adolescents attending schools in the highest (compared to the lowest) levels of socioeconomic deprivation and social fragmentation were more likely to be physically inactive (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.72; and OR = 1.24, 95% CI = 0.98, 1.56, respectively). Conversely, students attending schools with the highest cohesion were less likely to be physically inactive (OR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.61, 0.99). In longitudinal analysis, physically active students who attended schools with the highest social fragmentation were more likely to become physically inactive over two years (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.09, 2.51). CONCLUSION: The school socioeconomic environment appears to be an important contextual influence on participation in no physical activity among adolescents. Following adolescents beyond two years is necessary to determine if these environments have a lasting effect on physical activity behavior.

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Pabayo, R., Janosz, M., Bisset, S., & Kawachi, I. (2014). School social fragmentation, economic deprivation and social cohesion and adolescent physical inactivity: A longitudinal study. PLoS ONE, 9(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0099154

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