Responses to parental influences: A daily diary exploration of parental social control


Parents' play a key role in shaping their child's physical activity (PA). One type of parental influence is social control, which is a parents' attempts to regulate their child's PA behavior. Different types of social control may lead to different responses (e.g., perform or hide the behavior). Using a daily diary methodology, this study explored the responses to parents' social control use in children aged 8-12 years old. Parent and child dyads (N=26; 16 girls, 24 mothers) wore an accelerometer and completed a 10-day diary. Parents' use of collaborative (e.g., offering to be active with the child), positive (e.g., encouraging them) and negative (e.g., nagging) strategies were reported each day and coded as present or absent. Outcomes included perceived change in their child's PA (decrease to increase), parents' perceptions of their child's feelings (negative to positive), and the child's daily moderate-vigorous PA as measured by accelerometer. Several multilevel models (HLM 7) were specified with days (level 1) nested within dyad (level 2). For perceived PA change, a positive relationship with collaborative strategies approached significance (b=0.5, p=.09). For parents' perceptions of their child's feelings, both collaborative (b=0.8, p=.01) and positive strategies (b=0.6, p=.032) were associated with more positive feelings. In term of the child's daily PA, negative strategies approached significance (b=-21.7, p=.06). It appears that the type of strategy used elicits different responses with collaborative strategies associated with the most positive response (perceived PA change and feelings) while negative strategies associated with lower levels of PA.