BACKGROUND: Physical activity (PA) declines in adolescence among black girls. This study assesses how moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) relates to caregiver- vs. adolescent-reported parental support and whether the relationship is mediated by self-efficacy.
METHODS: MVPA was assessed through accelerometry. Parental support and encouragement on adolescents' PA were reported by caregivers and adolescents with a 10-item Social Support and Exercise Survey. Adolescent-reported self-efficacy related to PA was assessed with an 8-item scale. Structural equation modeling assessed source variation (caregiver vs. adolescent report) in the relationship between parental support and MVPA and mediation through adolescent self-efficacy.
RESULTS: The sample includes black adolescent girls (n = 272), with mean age of 11.6 years (standard deviation = 0.7), and average MVPA/day of 40.6 minutes. Caregiver/adolescent agreement on parental support was low (weighted Kappa <0.20). There was significant source variation in the parental support-MVPA relationship (Wald χ2 = 4.18, df = 1, p = 0.041); adolescent-reported support was related to MVPA (b = 0.40, standard error = 0.14, p = 0.003) and mediated through self-efficacy (95% bootstrapped confidence interval: 0.05-0.29). Caregiver-reported support or BMI z-score was not related to MVPA.
CONCLUSIONS: The association between MVPA and adolescent-reported parental support among black adolescent girls is explained by positive self-efficacy. Findings suggest that effective adolescent/caregiver communication around parental support on PA relates to high adolescent self-efficacy and supports objectively measured PA. Additional research is merited to examine longitudinal patterns. Furthermore, although 51.5% of girls in the sample were overweight or obese, the lack of association between MVPA and body composition minimizes its implication for mitigating obesity among overweight/obese black adolescent girls.