Identifying Social Network Characteristics Associated With Youth Physical Activity Skill Competency at a Summer Care Program. Academic Article uri icon


  • While literature suggests that youth physical activity (PA) behaviors are affected by network influences, less is known about network influences on perceived skill competency, a component of physical literacy and self-efficacy. This study aims to provide an understanding of potential network characteristics which are associated with youth PA skill competency. Youth (n = 158) between the ages of 8 and 12 years recruited from two summer care programs (i.e., Boys & Girls Clubs) participated in researcher-administered surveys. Youth self-reported their age, sex, involvement in team sports, weekly PA, and skill competency assessed using a version of the PLAYself measure. Youth were also asked to report up to five people in the summer program and five out of the program with whom they interacted the most. Linear regression was used to evaluate associations between skill competency and demographics, PA, and social network characteristics. Skill competency was significantly associated (R2 = .17) with age ( = -.06, p = .01), sex ( = -.06, p = .01), sports team involvement ( = .16, p < .001), and weekly PA ( = -.20, p < .001). Skill competency was also significantly associated with the number of connections with whom the youth played frequently ( = .09, p < .001), the number of connections that helped the youth to be active ( = .18, p < .001), and the heterogeneity of the type of relationships within the youth's network ( = .11, p < .001). Skill competency scores were significantly associated with both individual variables and social network composition. In addition, youth with networks comprising several types of relationships (heterogeneity) reported a significantly high skill competency. PA interventions can be most effective when considering the reinforcing aspects of networks and skill competency.

published proceedings

  • Health Promot Pract

author list (cited authors)

  • Jackson, D., Park, J., Patterson, M. S., Umstattd Meyer, M. R., & Prochnow, T.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Jackson, Deja||Park, Jeong-Hui||Patterson, Megan S||Umstattd Meyer, M RenĂ©e||Prochnow, Tyler

publication date

  • March 2024