Associations between children's social functioning and physical activity participation are not mediated by social acceptance: A cross-sectional study

  • Sebire S
  • Jago R
  • Fox K
 et al. 
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Background: Physical activity (PA) during childhood often occurs in social contexts. As such, children's ability to develop and maintain friendship groups may be important in understanding their PA. This paper investigates the associations among children's social functioning, and physical activity and whether perceptions of social acceptance mediate any social functioning-PA association.Methods: A cross sectional survey in which 652 10-11 year olds self-reported their peer (e.g. difficulties with friends) and conduct (e.g. anger/aggression) problems, prosocial behaviours (e.g. being kind to others) and perceptions of social acceptance. Physical activity was objectively assessed by Actigraph GT1M accelerometers to estimate counts per minute, (CPM) and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate associations between social functioning and PA. Indirect effects were analysed to explore mediation by social acceptance.Results: Among boys, peer problems were negatively associated with CPM and MVPA and conduct problems were positively associated with CPM and MVPA. Prosocial behaviour was unrelated to PA in boys. Social functioning was not associated with PA among girls. Social acceptance did not mediate the social functioning-PA relationship.Conclusions: Boys' conduct and peer problems were associated positively and negatively respectively with their PA but this relationship was not mediated by perceptions of social acceptance. Future research should study alternative mediators to understand the processes underpinning this relationship. © 2011 Sebire et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Accelerometer
  • Physical activity
  • Social acceptance
  • Social functioning

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  • Simon J. Sebire

  • Russell Jago

  • Kenneth R. Fox

  • Angie S. Page

  • Rowan Brockman

  • Janice L. Thompson

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