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Public Health Nutr. 2010 Oct;13(10A):1746-54. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010002314.

Do individual cognitions mediate the association of socio-cultural and physical environmental factors with adolescent sports participation?

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To examine the associations of perceived physical environmental factors (availability of physical activity (PA) attributes at home, PA facilities in the neighbourhood, neighbourhood pleasantness and safety) and social environmental factors (parental sports behaviour and parental rule regarding sports participation) with adolescent leisure-time sports participation, and to explore whether the associations found were mediated by individual cognitions as derived from the theory of planned behaviour (TPB).


Cross-sectional study.


In school-year 2005/2006 adolescents from seventeen schools in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, completed a questionnaire during school hours that included self-reported measures of leisure-time sports participation, perceived physical environmental factors and TPB variables. Information about parental sports behaviour and parental rule was obtained from a questionnaire that was completed by one parent of the adolescents.


Data were collected from 584 adolescent-parent combinations.


Data were analysed with multi-level logistic regression analyses. Availability of PA attributes at home (OR = 1·26), parents' sports behaviour (OR = 2·03) and parental rule (OR = 1·64) were associated with a higher likelihood of adolescents' leisure-time sports participation. These associations were partly mediated by attitude and intention.


Adolescents were more likely to engage in leisure-time sports when PA attributes were available at home, when parents participated in sports activities and had a rule about their offspring participation in sports activities. These associations were partly mediated by attitude and intention. These results suggest that parents can importantly promote sports participation among their offspring by making sports activities accessible and a family routine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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