Dissertation Defense Announcement

School of Public Health announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

Cardella Leak

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

June 20, 2019 at 10:30 AM in Robison- Room 217

Advisor: Brook E. Harmon

Influences of Parent Physical Activity Support and Physical Activity Modeling on Adolescent Physical Activity Engagement and Weight Status

ABSTRACT: Childhood obesity rates continue to rise with adolescents (12-19 years old) having the highest prevalence (20.6%) across all age groups. Previous studies have indicated the importance of physical activity (PA) to assist with reducing obesity rates among adolescents. Parents influence their adolescent's PA as parents are typically adolescents' first exposure, or gatekeeper, to direct and indirect PA behaviors through PA support and PA modeling, which ultimately impact adolescents' weight status. This dissertation used parent-adolescent dyads from the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) study to examine the associations between parent PA support and PA modeling with adolescent PA engagement and weight status. The study hypothesized that parent factors and adolescent psychosocial constructs (PA self-efficacy and perception of parent PA support) would positively influence adolescent PA engagement and weight status. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the pathways and associations between these factors. While the inclusion of adolescent psychosocial constructs did not strengthen the associations of parent factors on adolescent behaviors and outcomes, the results revealed that parent PA support remained positively associated with adolescent weight status while parent PA modeling was associated with the adolescent psychosocial constructs. Additionally, adolescent PA self-efficacy was associated with both adolescent PA engagement and weight status. The results of this study revealed that factors at multiple levels (adolescent-level and parent-level) positively impact adolescent PA behaviors and health outcomes. By incorporating factors at multiple levels in behavioral interventions, future researchers could have a greater impact on increasing adolescent PA engagement and lowering adolescent weight status.