Using framed messages and risk information to motivate physical activity support behaviours among parents of children and youth with intellectual disabilities


Physical activity (PA) promotion initiatives that support children and youth with intellectual disabilities (CYID) to experience the benefits of PA engagement are essential. Given the crucial role that parents play in encouraging their child's PA behaviours, strategies that motivate parental support for PA should be investigated. The extended parallel process model (EPPM) may be valuable in guiding the development of PA promotion messages for parents of CYID. This study examined the extent to which a messaging intervention motivated PA behaviours and influenced EPPM constructs among families of CYID. A four (time) x three (frame) x three (risk information) repeated measures experimental design was employed. Parents of CYID (N=80) were randomly assigned to receive various combinations of framed PA messages and risk information. Online questionnaires measured parental support for PA, child PA, and EPPM constructs before and after message exposure. A main effect for risk information was observed for perceived threat (F(2,56)=4.71, p=0.01, n2=0.14). Additionally, main effects for time were observed for planning efficacy (F(3, 61)=5.25, p<0.01, n2=0.21), intention (F(3, 61)=3.91, p=0.01, n2=0.16), parental support for PA (F(2, 57)=4.72, p=0.01, n2=0.14), and child PA (F(2, 55)=5.72, p=0.01, n2=0.17). The changes observed over time suggest that participation in the study itself evoked enhanced cognitions related to parental support for PA. Findings will inform future research regarding the development of PA messages targeting parents of CYID.

Acknowledgments: This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Special Olympics Ontario, and the LaMarsh Centre for Child and Youth Research