The Influence of Personal, Social, and Environmental Factors on Youths' Engagement in Physical Activity
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Social ecological models are recognized for allowing researchers to examine the influence of multiple factors on behaviour, yet to date relatively little research has simultaneously examined the role of personal, social, and environmental factors on youths’ physical activity, while giving consideration to the role of different types of neighbourhoods. The current study examined the physical activity of 804 youth aged 10 to 16 years residing in urban high density, suburban, or suburban low density neighbourhoods, by exploring relationships between several personal, social, and environmental factors. Findings revealed that all three factors were significant in explaining youths’ physical activity. Differences in participation were found based on gender and neighbourhood; males and youth from suburban low density neighbourhoods were significantly more physically active. Moreover, several variables were found to be important for understanding youth physical activity: sex, age, self-efficacy, encouragement, neighbourhood safety, and the use of a number of neighbourhood facilities.