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Social cognitions measured in 4 to 6 year olds are predictive of objectively measured physical activity

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Vera Araujo-SoaresORCiD, Professor Falko Sniehotta, Dr Paul Gellert


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Objective: This study tested whether social cognitions from the reasoned action approach (RAA) can be reliably measured in a sample of primary school children (aged 4-6years) and whether these RAA measures are predictive of physical activity.Design: Longitudinal observational study with repeated measures over six months.Measures: RAA variables were measured using a novel choice paradigm between physically active and sedentary pastimes. Relative reinforcing value, covariates (sex, age, deprivation and BMI) and physical activity by accelerometry (primary outcome) were also measured.Results: RAA cognitions could be measured with acceptable retest reliability and discriminant validity and social norms regarding parents and teachers (but not friends) were correlated with physical activity and change in physical activity when relative reinforcing value and other covariates were controlled for.Conclusions: RAA cognitions can be reliably measured in primary school children aged 4-6 and RRA measures appear useful in understanding children's activity choices and may potentially inform future interventions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Araujo-Soares V, Sniehotta FF, Laing CM, Gellert P, Jackson D, Speakman JR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychology & Health

Year: 2015

Volume: 30

Issue: 10

Pages: 1240-1257

Online publication date: 02/06/2015

Acceptance date: 09/04/2015

ISSN (print): 0887-0446

ISSN (electronic): 1476-8321

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2015.1041395


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Funder referenceFunder name
CZH/4/458Scottish Government, Chief Scientist Office