Child Temperament and Physical Activity in Young Children

Child Care Health Dev. 2023 Jan 24. doi: 10.1111/cch.13098. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Children’s temperament has been noted to influence their physical activity (PA) levels. Therefore, understanding the influence of temperament during the early years may be helpful for developing appropriate PA habits and tailoring interventions to align with different personality traits.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between child temperament and objectively-measured PA in preschool-aged children.

METHODS: Data was collected as part of the Supporting Physical Activity in the Childcare Environment (SPACE) and SPACE extension studies. Temperament data were collected using the validated Very Short Form of the Children’s Behavior Questionnaire, which assessed three dimensions of temperament (i.e., surgency, negative affect, and effortful control). Physical activity data were measured during childcare hours over the course of 5 days, using Actical® accelerometers. Total PA was summed, along with light and moderate-to-vigorous PA using age-specific cut-points. Three regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the prediction of PA by the dimensions of temperament.

RESULTS: A total of 399 participants (Mage = 3.34 years, SD = 0.63) were retained for analyses, wearing an accelerometer an average of 7.21 hours/day. Temperament significantly predicted all three PA levels (p < .05), with both negative affect and surgency being significantly associated with PA.

CONCLUSION: Surgency is typified by a predisposition towards high activity levels; therefore, it is not surprising that it was the primary predictor of young children’s PA. Future research may investigate methods of targeting PA interventions towards children with temperaments that may not predispose them to seeking out increased activity levels.

PMID:36693269 | DOI:10.1111/cch.13098

Full Text Link: Read More

Generated by Feedzy