Examining a conceptual model of parenting nurturance, parenting practices and physical activity among 5-6 year olds

Simon J Sebire, R Jago, Lesley Wood, Janice Thompson, Jesmond Zahra, Deborah A Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)



Parenting is an often-studied correlate of children's physical activity, however there is little research examining the associations between parenting styles, practices and the physical activity of younger children.


This study aimed to investigate whether physical activity-based parenting practices mediate the association between parenting styles and 5–6 year-old children's objectively-assessed physical activity.


770 parents self-reported parenting style (nurturance and control) and physical activity-based parenting practices (logistic and modeling support). Their 5–6 year old child wore an accelerometer for five days to measure moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Linear regression was used to examine direct and indirect (mediation) associations. Data were collected in the United Kingdom in 2012/13 and analyzed in 2014.


Parent nurturance was positively associated with provision of modeling (adjusted unstandardized coefficient, β = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.02, 0.21) and logistic support (β = 0.14; 0.07, 0.21). Modeling support was associated with greater child MVPA (β = 2.41; 0.23, 4.60) and a small indirect path from parent nurturance to child's MVPA was identified (β = 0.27; 0.04, 0.70).


Physical activity-based parenting practices are more strongly associated with 5–6 year old children's MVPA than parenting styles. Further research examining conceptual models of parenting is needed to understand in more depth the possible antecedents to adaptive parenting practices beyond parenting styles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online date22 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


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