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An investigation into inequalities in parent-child involvement in active play

By Katherine Helen Mildon


This thesis is concerned with parent-child involvement in active play and, in particular, social inequalities which may exist for mother-child and father-child participation and facilitation. Following a literature review which pointed to a lack of quantitative evidence, interview data from a contemporary study of families in the UK, the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), were analysed. A dataset of children aged four to six years old living with their birth mothers (n=12,437), and a subset of those who were also living with their birth fathers (n=7997) were used in the analyses.\ud \ud Two modes of parent-child involvement were investigated: frequency of playing active games together (participation), and frequency of going to parks or outdoor playgrounds together (facilitation). Adjusted multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to explore whether factors relating to child and family attributes, background and circumstances independently predicted high-frequency or low-frequency participation/facilitation, compared to mid-frequency participation/facilitation.\ud \ud The findings suggested that a variety of social inequalities exist. For example, children with siblings were more likely than those without siblings to have lower frequency active opportunities with their mothers and fathers. Boys were more likely to have higher frequency involvement in active play with their parents than girls, more-so with fathers than mothers. There was also indication that frequency of involvement was significantly affected by parents‟ health and their hours in employment.\ud \ud Many of the findings were supported by qualitative research on children‟s and parents‟ perspectives discussed in the literature review. Through this first-stage analysis of the UK‟s major study of contemporary childhood, this thesis aims to contribute to knowledge on inequalities in parent-child involvement in active play. It is hoped that this will inform further research and the development of strategies to improve equality in children‟s opportunities for active play

Publisher: Health Sciences (York)
Year: 2009
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