Understanding physical activity and motivations for children with Developmental Coordination Disorder: An investigation using the Theory of Planned Behavior
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Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a neurodevelopmental condition, affecting approximately 5-6% of children. Previous research has consistently found children with DCD being less physically active compared to typically-developing (TD) children; however, the psychosocial factors associated with physical activity for children with DCD are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to examine how theory-based physical activity cognitions impacts physical activity behaviors for children with and without DCD. Participants included a sample of boys (N=61, Mage=13.25 ±.46) with DCD (n=19) and without DCD (n=42), drawn from a larger prospective cohort study. A questionnaire with psychosocial measures was first administered, and accelerometers were used to assess their physical activity behavior over the subsequent week. Findings indicate that DCD was significantly associated with lower physical activity (F(1,58)=6.51, p<.05), and poorer physical activity cognitions (F(4,56) Wilks Lambda=2.78, p<.05). Meditational analyses found attitudes (B=.23, p<.05) and subjective norms (B=.31, p<.05) partially mediating the relationship between DCD and physical activity. Overall, this study further confirms that the activity deficit that exists among boys with DCD, and that the relationship is partially mediated through some physical activity cognitions. Interventions should target the perceived approval of influential people, and the personal evaluations of physical activity for boys with motoric difficulties. These findings further emphasizes the discrepancy in physical activity that exist between boys with DCD and TD boys, and highlight the need to better understand the psychological factors related to physical activity for children with DCD.
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