Association between the Quality of Student Relationships and Various Physical Activity Behaviors

Mitch Barton, University of North Texas, USA

Theme: Exercise and health behaviors

Poster Number: 27

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Social support is a widely studied psychosocial determinant of physical activity (PA), and has been described as an important correlate for regular PA (Molloy et al., 2010; Trost et al., 2002). Research has primarily focused on support received from others and self-reported PA, but little information is available regarding perceived support (i.e., expectations of available support). The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between the quality of student relationships with parents and a special person (e.g., best friend) and PA behaviors. Thirty undergraduate students (15 kinesiology, 15 music) completed a survey that included items from the Quality of Relationships Inventory (i.e., the support, conflict, and depth of a relationship; Verhofstadt et al., 2006) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (i.e., days of strengthening activities and days and minutes of moderate and vigorous PA per week; CDC, 2005; 2011). In addition, participants completed fitness testing for V02max, handgrip strength, and upper and lower body force production. A positive association was found between support from fathers and MPA (r = .400, p < .05), handgrip strength (r = .553, p < .01), and upper (r = .490, p < .01) and lower (r = .426, p < .05) body force production. Depth with fathers was also positively associated with the number of days of strengthening activities (r = .497, p < .01), handgrip strength (r = .370, p < .05), and upper (r = .418, p < .05) and lower (r = .395, p < .05) body force production. Fitness measures were stronger correlates of perceived support than self-reported PA, while strengthening behaviors were related to students’ perception of available support and having a positive, secure relationship (i.e., depth) with their fathers. Future PA interventions should consider how fathers influence students’ engagement in strengthening behaviors.

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