Physical Activity and Self-Esteem in Mother-Daughter Dyads Participating in a Physical Activity and Positive Youth Development Program

Saturday, October 24, 2015: 3:40 PM
143B (Walter E. Washington Convention Center)
Margaret S Wood, MD, Ana C. Monterrey, MD, Beth H. Garland, PhD and Sherin E Wesley, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Purpose: Youth sports programs can help improve self-esteem and increase physical activity levels in young girls. One well-established community running/empowerment program for 3rd-5th grade girls incorporates lessons and workouts that encourage healthy habits and build confidence. A parent-partner is encouraged to participate in the program as a running-buddy.  Studies evaluating this program have shown improvements in physical activity levels, commitment to physical activity, and self-esteem. This earlier research included predominantly middle-class, white, non-Hispanic subjects and did not address the impact on the parent-partner. This study’s objective is to assess whether this youth sports program increases physical activity and improves self-esteem in minority, low-income youth and their parent-partners.

Methods: This is a longitudinal cohort study which recruited girls and their parent-partners (in this case mothers), enrolled in the local running and empowerment program. Demographic and school characteristics were obtained. Using validated questionnaires, physical activity levels and self-esteem scores were obtained at baseline. Questionnaires will be repeated on the last day of the 10-week program and 3 months following program completion. The Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children (PAQ-C) provides a physical activity composite score ranging from 1-5 for children, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) measures metabolic equivalent of task (MET) minutes/week of physical activity for adults. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Assessment was used to obtain a self-esteem score from 1-30 for both mothers and daughters. IRB approval was obtained prior to starting the study.

Results: Of the 15 girls participating in the program, 12 consented to participate in the study along with their mothers (N=24, 12 mother-daughter dyads). Ten of the girls (83%) identified as Hispanic/Latino. Ten families (83%) had average annual household income of $40,000 or less. Mean IPAQ scores were 1766 MET-min/week of physical activity for the mothers (range 0-5112, SD 1527). Mean PAQ-C scores were 2.44 for the girls (range 1.69-3.38, SD 0.45). Mean Rosenberg self-esteem scores at baseline were 19.4 for the mothers (range 11-26, SD 4.8) and 19.8 for the girls (range 12-25, SD 4.3). Further results are forthcoming.

Conclusion: The population captured in the study is low-income and predominantly Hispanic. Baseline data suggests that mothers are engaging in adequate amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity/week, but variability was high. Baseline data on the girls suggests they too are engaging in moderate amounts of physical activity/week, but follow-up data will demonstrate what impact this program will have on their commitment to physical activity. Changes in the Rosenberg self-esteem scores during the study will illustrate the psychological impact of participation. This study provides valuable insight into the impact of a widely used youth sports and empowerment program on a unique and underserved population and its effects on family members beyond the individual participants.