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Open Access Research

Environmental resources moderate the relationship between social support and school sports participation among adolescents: a cross-sectional analysis

Dan J Graham13*, Margaret Schneider2 and Sally S Dickerson1

Author Affiliations

1 University of California, Irvine, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, 4558 Social and Behavioral Sciences, Irvine CA 92697, USA

2 University of California, Irvine, Department of Planning, Policy, and Design, 258 Social Ecology I, Irvine CA 92697, USA

3 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, 1300 S. 2nd Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis MN 55454, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:34  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-34

Published: 18 April 2011

Abstract

Background

Most Americans are not active at recommended levels. Adolescence is a developmental period when physical activity (PA) decreases markedly.

Methods

This study investigates whether access to environmental PA resources moderates the relationship between psychosocial resources (social support and perceived competence) and PA among 192 adolescents.

Results

Environmental access to PA resources (determined via GIS-based assessment of the number of gyms, schools, trails, parks and athletic fields within 0.5 miles of each participant's home) moderated the association between social support and PA; among adolescents with high levels of environmental resources, greater social support was associated with students participating in a greater number of sports in school, whereas no such relationship emerged among adolescents with low environmental resources.

Conclusions

PA-promotion interventions should aim to enhance both social and environmental resources; targeting either one alone may be insufficient.

Keywords:
physical activity; social support; environmental resources; perceived competence