Research Study Abstract

Longitudinal associations between parents’ motivations to exercise and their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity

  • Published on April 17, 2019

This study is the first examination of the longitudinal associations between behavioural regulation and accelerometer-assessed physical activity in parents of primary-school aged children.

A cohort design using data from the B-Proact1v project.

There were three measurement phases over five years. Exercise motivation was measured using the BREQ-2 and mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were derived from ActiGraph accelerometers worn for a minimum of 3 days. Cross-sectional associations were explored via linear regression models using parent data from the final two phases of the B-Proact1v cohort, when children were 8–9 years-old (925 parents, 72.3% mothers) and 10 to 11 years-old (891 parents, 72.6% mothers). Longitudinal associations across all three phases were explored using multi-level models on data from all parents who provided information on at least one occasion (2374 parents). All models were adjusted for gender, number of children, deprivation indices and school-based clustering.

Cross-sectionally, identified regulation was associated with 5.43 (95% CI [2.56, 8.32]) and 4.88 (95% CI [1.94, 7.83]) minutes more MVPA per day at times 2 and 3 respectively. In the longitudinal model, a one-unit increase in introjected regulation was associated with a decline in mean daily MVPA of 0.52 (95% CI [-0.88, −0.16]) minutes per year.

Interventions to promote the internalisation of personally meaningful rationales for being active, whilst ensuring that feelings of guilt are not fostered, may offer promise for facilitating greater long-term physical activity engagement in parents of primary school age children.


  • Lydia G. Emm-Collison 1
  • Russell Jago 1
  • Ruth Salway 1
  • Janice L. Thompson 2
  • Simon J. Sebirea 1


  • 1

    Centre for Exercise, Nutrition & Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, 8 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TZ, UK

  • 2

    School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK


Psychology of Sport and Exercise

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