Journal Article

Associations Between Parenting Factors, Motivation, and Physical Activity in Overweight African American Adolescents

Lauren E Huffman, Dawn K Wilson, M Lee Van Horn and Russell R Pate

in Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Volume 52, issue 2, pages 93-105
ISSN: 0883-6612
Published online January 2018 | e-ISSN: 1532-4796 | DOI:

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Positive parenting practices and environmental supports have been linked to physical activity (PA) levels in youth, yet factors associated with positive parenting styles have been understudied in African American adolescents.


This study expands on previous literature by examining associations between motivation, parenting factors associated with Self-Determination Theory’s psychological needs (competence, autonomy, and relatedness) including authoritative parenting, autonomy support and emotional and tangible support, and adolescent moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and light PA (LPA).


Participants were African American adolescents (N = 148; Mage = 13.6 years; MBMI% = 96.6) and their care-givers (Mage = 43.4 years; MBMI = 37.4) enrolled in the Families Improving Together for Weight Loss trial. Parenting factors were measured using self-report surveys, and PA minutes were measured using 7-day accelerometry estimates.


Regression analyses indicated that overall models for MVPA (F(11,134) = 4.35; R2 = 0.26) and LPA (F(11,134) = 5.84, R2 = 0.32) were significant. Adolescent motivation for PA (B = 0.58, SE = 0.16) was positively associated with MVPA minutes. Authoritative parenting (B = 15.71, SE = 4.38) and tangible support (B = 8.53, SE = 4.02) were positively associated with adolescent LPA minutes. Unexpectedly, emotional support was negatively associated with both MVPA (B = −0.47, SE = 0.17) and LPA (B = −11.22, SE = 4.79), with follow-up analyses showing this relationship stronger in males.


Findings highlight the importance of adolescent motivation for PA onMVPA and positive parenting styles and tangible supports on adolescent LPA in overweight African American youth. Recommendations for integrating these factors within the context of intervention studies are discussed.

Keywords: Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity; Light physical activity; Parenting styles; Motivation; African American; Adolescents; Overweight; Self-Determination Theory

Journal Article.  9217 words. 

Subjects: Medicine and Health ; Patient Education and Information ; Primary Care ; Public Health and Epidemiology

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