Investigating Message Believability as a Determinant of Parents' Intentions to Support their Children in Meeting Physical Activity and Screen Time Guidelines

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Jarvis, Jocelyn
Screen Time Guidelines , Parental Support , Health Promotion , Message Believability , Physical Activity Guidelines
The majority of children are not meeting the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) or the Screen Time Guidelines (STG). Parents play a role in changing the health behaviours of their children by engaging in supportive behaviours (eg. transporting them to sports; placing limits on TV viewing). These behaviours, and their determinants, may differ for moms versus dads and for physical activity versus screen time. According to the social issue advertising believability model (SIABM), whether parents support their children in achieving these guidelines may depend on how believable they find guideline promotion advertisements (message believability [MB]). Whether parents find a message believable may depend upon their perceived behavioural control for engaging in the supportive behaviours. The purpose of this study was to examine a) MB as a determinant of parents’ intentions to support their children in meeting the PAG and STG, and b) perceived behavioural control as a determinant of whether parents consider PAG and STG advertisements believable. A secondary objective was to examine differences in parents’ evaluations of the PAG and STG advertisements. Data were collected online using Survey Monkey Audience; 500 Canadian parents with at least one child aged 5-11 (75.6% moms; 24.4% dads) were included in the sample. A structural equation model testing the SIABM relationships demonstrated good model fit for both advertisements in the whole sample, and moms, and dads separately (CFIs ≥.96; RMSEAs ≤.06). Contrary to hypothesis MB did not predict intentions, and perceived behavioural control did not predict MB (ps>.05). Parents had more positive evaluations of the PAG advertisement versus the STG advertisement; nonetheless, parents had stronger intentions to support screen time reduction versus physical activity participation (ps<.05). When considering moms and dads separately, moms had stronger attitudes towards physical activity participation and screen time reduction, and believed both advertisements more than dads. Moms had greater intentions to support screen time reductions versus physical activity participation. More research is needed to examine the relationship between perceived behavioural control, MB, and intentions. Future advertisements should emphasize how parents can support screen time reduction beyond the scope of promoting supportive behaviours for physical activity participation.
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