Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The aim of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between children's physical activity and wellbeing, and if that relationship is enhanced by physical activity in nature. This study was a non-experimental retrospective multi-informant data review conducted at an outpatient pediatric psychiatric clinic in the Northeast. The theoretical framework used to guide this study was the Health Promotion Model, suggesting Advanced Practice Nursing investigate the relationship between health promoting behaviors and personal factors that support mental wellness in children and protect against mental illness. Data collected included age, sex, and exercise and wellbeing subsections of the Vermont Child Health and Behavior Questionnaire (VHBQ): Parent Reports and Self-reports for 11-21 year olds. Data from three sample groups were analyzed: parent participants (n=178, 61% male, 38% female), child participants (n=78, 51% male, 49% female), and parent-child pairs with sex determined by child (n-25, 60% male, 40% female). Physical activity was calculated using a metric for participation in sports.
Two sample t tests were used to analyze children's response to the question "do you participate in sports regularly?" in relation to wellbeing scores. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to investigate correlations between 1) parent reports of their children's physical activity and wellbeing, 2) children's self-reports of physical activity and wellbeing, 3) parent reports of their children's physical and children's self-reports of physical activity, and 4) parent reports of their children's wellbeing and children's self-reports of wellbeing.
Statistically significant results included positive correlations between parent reports of their children's physical activity and wellbeing item, "his/her living conditions are excellent" (r=.34, p=<0.001 for overall, r=.25, p=.002 for indoor, and r=.28, p=<0.001 for outdoor). Positive weak correlations were found between parent reports of their children's physical activity and scores on the VHBQ 10-point Worst Life/Best Life bar (r=.19, p=0.02 for overall and r=.17, p=.04 outdoor). Additionally, results showed significant strong positive correlations for all physical activities between parent reports of children's participation and children's self-report of participation (r=0.83, p=<0.001 for overall, r=0.85, p=<0.001 for indoor, and r=.67, p=0.02 for outdoor). However, only a single wellbeing item, "Compared with...most peer, [child] is less happy than they are", demonstrated statistically significant positive correlation (r=.48, p=0.03) when parent reports and self-reports of wellbeing were compared.
These results underscore the need for further research. Among professions, Advanced Practice Nurses may be best equipped to fully understand the lifestyle factors that promote children's mental health. Moreover, because of their background, training and employment settings, Advanced Practice Nurses could play an important role not only in initiating well-being research studies, but also in using the resultant information to develop educational resources and policy.
Number of Pages
Bless, Stephanie Marcia, "Physical Activity in Nature and Children's Mental Health" (2015). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 506.