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J Pediatr Psychol. 2009 Mar;34(2):217-25. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn071. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Effect of peers and friends on youth physical activity and motivation to be physically active.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Behavioral Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214-3000, USA. ssalvy@buffalo.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test whether the presence of a peer or a friend increases the motivation to be physically active in overweight and non-overweight youth in a laboratory setting.

METHODS:

Youth motivation to be physically active as a function of the social context was measured using a computerized relative reinforcing value task to earn points exchangeable for physical and/or sedentary activities.

RESULTS:

The presence of a friend (p<.001) increased youth's; motivation to be physically active. The presence of a peer increased overweight youth's; motivation to be physically active, whereas this was not the case for lean youth (p=.47). Participants biked a greater distance in the presence of a friend than when alone (p<.001). Overweight youth biked a greater distance in the presence of a peer than when alone, while this was not the case for lean youth (p=.23).

CONCLUSIONS:

Friendships may increase youth's motivation to engage in physical activity and promote greater physical activity in non-overweight and overweight youth.

PMID:
18617572
PMCID:
PMC3202936
DOI:
10.1093/jpepsy/jsn071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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