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Role of parental and environmental characteristics in toddlers’ physical activity and screen time: Bayesian analysis of structural equation models

Lee, Eun-Young, Hesketh, Kylie D., Rhodes, Ryan E., Rinaldi, Christina M., Spence, John C., Carson, Valerie
The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 2018 v.15 no.1 pp. 17
Bayesian theory, Markov chain, algorithms, child care, children, cognition, cross-sectional studies, electronic equipment, electronics, household income, models, nationalities and ethnic groups, parents, physical activity, questionnaires, self-efficacy, structural equation modeling, toddlers
BACKGROUND: Guided by the Socialization Model of Child Behavior (SMCB), this cross-sectional study examined direct and indirect associations of parental cognitions and behavior, the home and neighborhood environment, and toddlers’ personal attributes with toddlers’ physical activity and screen time. METHODS: Participants included 193 toddlers (1.6 ± 0.2 years) from the Parents’ Role in Establishing healthy Physical activity and Sedentary behavior habits (PREPS) project. Toddlers’ screen time and personal attributes, physical activity- or screen time-specific parental cognitions and behaviors, and the home and neighborhood environment were measured via parental-report using the PREPS questionnaire. Accelerometry-measured physical activity was available in 123 toddlers. Bayesian estimation in structural equation modeling (SEM) using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm was performed to test an SMCB hypothesized model. Covariates included toddlers’ age, sex, race/ethnicity, main type of childcare, and family household income. RESULTS: In the SMCB hypothesized screen time model, higher parental barrier self-efficacy for limiting toddlers’ screen time was associated with higher parental screen time limiting practices (β = 0.451), while higher parental negative outcome expectations for limiting toddlers’ screen time was associated with lower parental screen time limiting practices (β = − 0.147). In turn, higher parental screen time limiting practices was associated with lower screen time among toddlers (β = − 0.179). Parental modeling of higher screen time was associated with higher screen time among toddlers directly (β = 0.212) and indirectly through the home environment. Specifically, higher screen time among parents was associated with having at least one electronic device in toddlers’ bedrooms (β = 0.146) and, in turn, having electronics in the bedroom, compared to none, was associated with higher screen time among toddlers (β = 0.250). Neighborhood safety was not associated with toddlers’ screen time in the SEM analysis. No significant correlations were observed between the SMCB variables and toddlers’ physical activity; thus, no further analyses were performed for physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: Parents and their interactions with the home environment may play an important role in shaping toddlers’ screen time. Findings can inform family-based interventions aiming to minimize toddlers’ screen time. Future research is needed to identify correlates of toddlers’ physical activity.