Family Leadership Affects Dietary & Physical Activity Behaviours

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Research Paper Title

Family Leadership Styles and Adolescent Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors: A Cross-sectional Study.

Background

Transformational leadership is conceptualised as a set of behaviours designed to inspire, energise and motivate others to achieve higher levels of functioning, and is associated with salient health-related outcomes in organisational settings. Given (a) the similarities that exist between leadership within organisational settings and parenting within families, and (b) the importance of the family environment in the promotion of adolescent health enhancing behaviours, the purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the cross-sectional relationships between parentstransformational leadership behaviours and adolescent dietary and physical activity behaviours.

Methods

857 adolescents (aged 1315, mean age = 14.70 yrs) completed measures of transformational parenting behaviours, healthful dietary intake and leisure-time physical activity. Regression analyses were conducted to examine relationships between family transformational leadership and adolescent health outcomes. A further extreme group analysis’ was conducted by clustering families based on quartile splits. A MANCOVA (controlling for child gender) was conducted to examine differences between families displaying (a) HIGH levels of transformational parenting (consistent HIGH TP), (b) LOW levels of transformational parenting (consistent LOW TP), and (c) inconsistent levels of transformational parenting (inconsistent HIGH-LOW TP).

Results

Results revealed that adolescents’ perceptions of family transformational parenting were associated with both healthy dietary intake and physical activity. Adolescents who perceived their families to display the highest levels of transformational parenting (HIGH TP group) displayed greater healthy eating and physical activity behaviours than adolescents who perceived their families to display the lowest levels of transformational parenting behaviours (LOW TP group). Adolescents who perceived their families to display inconsistent levels of transformational parenting behaviours (HIGH-LOW TP group) displayed the same levels of healthy eating behaviours as those adolescents from the LOW TP group. For physical activity behaviours, adolescents who perceived their families to display inconsistent levels of transformational parenting behaviours (HIGH-LOW TP group) did not differ in terms of physical activity than those in either the HIGH TP or LOW TP group.

Conclusions

Family transformational parenting behaviours were positively associated with both healthful dietary intake and leisure-time physical activity levels amongst adolescents. The findings suggest that transformational leadership theory is a useful framework for understanding the relationship between family leadership behaviours and adolescent health outcomes.

Source: Morton, K.L., Wilson, A.H., Perlmutter, L.S. & Beauchamp, M.R. (2012) Family Leadership Styles and Adolescent Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors: A Cross-sectional Study. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9:48.

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