Title

Adult attention and interaction can increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in young children

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Department

Psychology

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

49

Issue

3

DOI

10.1002/jaba.317

First Page

449

Last Page

459

Publication Date

September 2016

Abstract

Evidence suggests that physical inactivity is prevalent among young children. To combat this, one recommendation for caregivers is to become actively involved in their child's physical activities. However, this general recommendation does not specify how or when a parent should become involved. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a functional analysis to identify a social consequence that would increase the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) exhibited by preschool-aged children, and then to compare the effects of that social consequence when it was provided contingent on MVPA and when provided independent of MVPA. The results of the functional analyses indicated that 3 of 7 children were most active when attention or interactive play was provided contingent on MVPA. Results of the intervention analysis suggested that caregivers of young children should provide attention or interactive play contingent on MVPA when those consequences are identified as reinforcers in a functional analysis.

Comments

This study is based on a thesis submitted by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree at the University of the Pacific. Heather Zerger is now at the University of South Florida. We thank Cynthia Livingston for her assistance with data collection.