"He's my step Dad but has earned to be my Dad for me because he plays with me". Cross-generational physical activity: The experiences of children & parents

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: Relatively little is known about how and why parents and children perform physical activity together. When cross-generational physical activity has been considered, it has generally been from an individual perspective. Most studies have examined cross-generational physical activity’s effect on the physical activity level of the child. The lack of consensus in the literature may reflect a lack of understanding of the complex nature of cross-generational physical activity. The nuances of the phenomenon of cross-generational physical activity require further exploration from both a child and parent perspective. The aim of this study was to increase understanding of cross-generational physical activity
through an exploration of the experiences of primary school aged children and their parents. The presentation will focus on the child participants’ responses.
Methods: This study used a qualitative design informed by hermeneutics to interpret data from Year 5 and 6 children and parents. Participants were involved in a series of semi-structured focus groups, family unit interview and individual interviews. Thematic analysis used to interpret the data. A broad definition of physical activity was utilized with categories of ‘transport’, ‘exercise and sports’, ‘recreational activities’ and ‘helping at home’ employed to help participants consider all intensities and types of physical activity.
Findings: Themes specific to children or parents, as well as common themes were identified. Common to both child and parent participants were the social aspects of cross-generational physical activity including ‘spending time together’ and ‘fun’. Child only themes included: ‘bench marking of physical abilities against their parents’.
Conclusion: The current findings highlight the complex nature of the cross-generational physical activity relationship between parents and children and sheds light on differences and commonalities in the experience for the two generations. In particular, the findings elucidate the role of cross-generational physical activity in strengthening child–parent relationships, enabling benchmarking of physical abilities, and providing physical activity opportunities for parents and children. This provides insight, previously unknown, into how and why children and parents perform or do not perform physical activity together which can be used to inform development of public health policies and campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventBe Active 2014 -
Duration: 19 May 2014 → …


ConferenceBe Active 2014
Period19/05/14 → …


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