Child play network influences on physical literacy in Mexican-heritage Colonias


BACKGROUND and PURPOSE Physical activity (PA) is beneficial for child health; however, few children meet PA guidelines. Physical literacy (PL), a concept related to movement knowledge and skills, promotes child PA. Social relationships impact child PA behaviors; however, little is known about their impact on PL. Social network analysis can examine effects of social relationships on PL. This study aims to understand the impact self-reported play networks may have on PL among Mexican-heritage children.

METHODS Mexican-heritage families were sampled from colonias along the Texas-Mexico border. Children (n=41; 51.2% female; µ age=9.93 years, SD=1.01) reported information on up to five people they played with most often (i.e. their “play” network), including sex, frequency of play, and whether the person was active regularly. This study used linear regression to analyze the relationship between composition of children’s social network and two measures of PL (self-described and skill competency).

RESULTS Regression analysis revealed having more network members of the child’s sex (β=0.38,p=.04), more frequent play with network members (β=1.27,p=.03), and a higher percent of active members in the network (β=1.45,p=.008) were associated with self-described PL (R2=.47). Having more network members of the child’s sex (β=0.29,p=.05), more active network members (β=1.40,p=.001), and reporting more play partners in the network (β=1.19,p=.003) were associated with skill competency PL.

CONCLUSIONS The composition of a child’s “play” network seems to influence their self-described and skill competency PL. Increasing the amount of play within a child’s network may be an important aspect of developing PL among Mexican-heritage children.

Mar 30, 2020
Play Coalition Conference 2020
Clemson, South Carolina