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Role of parental autonomy support on self-determination in influencing diet and exercise motivation in older adolescents

Authors Morrison SA, Dashiff CJ, Vance DE

Received 8 February 2013

Accepted for publication 13 March 2013

Published 30 April 2013 Volume 2013:3 Pages 77—85


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Shannon A Morrison, Carol J Dashiff, David E Vance

School of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA

Abstract: Parental influence to promote autonomy and self-determination in their children as they grow up may also motivate them to exercise and eat healthily. Unfortunately, nutritious dietary consumption and physical activity frequency tend to decline during the adolescent years and reaches its lowest level as the adolescent nears adulthood. In this study of 132 freshman and sophomore college students, the influence of parental autonomy support on overall adolescents self-determination was examined to determine whether self-determination influences adolescents' motivation to engage in healthy diet and exercise behaviors. Utilizing hierarchical multiple regression analyses, parental autonomy support was not predictive of older adolescents' motivation for diet and exercise; however, study results did indicate that parental autonomy support remains highly influential in adolescent self-determination (F[2, 130] = 22.21; P = 0.001) during early college years and that in this sample, adolescent self-determination is predictive of motivation for diet (t = 2.21; P < 0.05), but not exercise. Findings suggest that parental autonomy support continues to influence adolescent internalization of attitudes and behaviors during latter adolescence, but may play a lessor role in motivation for specific health-related behaviors as the adolescent nears adulthood. A better understanding of health motivation antecedents of adolescents may facilitate nurses develop new approaches to health-promotion strategies.

Keywords: parental autonomy support, self-determination, adolescent health behaviors, motivation

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