Exploring the influence of program staff and parental support on changes in physical health outcomes of vulnerable youth participating in a sport-based positive youth development summer camp

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a sport-based positive youth development program (PYD) on physical fitness, physical activity self-efficacy, and health and fitness intentions among urban youth of color and/or living in poverty. Further, the influence of pedagogical practices and support provided by program staff and parents is explored. Urban youth (N=375) participating in the Learning in Fitness Education (LiFEsports) summer camp, which is a sport-based PYD program hosted at the Ohio State University, completed paper and pencil surveys assessing physical activity self-efficacy and health and fitness intentions at the beginning and end of the camp. A subset of the sample (n=86) also completed the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test as a measure of physical fitness at pre- and post-camp. Results showed a significant increase in physical fitness and physical activity self-efficacy from pre- to post-participation. The independent influence of staff and parent support, as well as their interaction, significantly added to the prediction of physical activity self-efficacy, with the positive effect of staff support increasing in magnitude as the degree of parent support increased. The independent effects and interaction between staff and parent support also significantly predicted the post-camp measure of health and fitness intentions. Both sources of support positively predicted intentions, with the interaction showing the effect of staff support being more influential when there were lower levels of parent support. Adult support did not predict changes in fitness. Findings support the capacity of sport-based PYD programs to promote positive physical health outcomes among socially vulnerable youth, and the importance of staff and parents as socializing agents for supporting physical activity and health outcomes.
  • Authors

  • Anderson-Butcher, Dawn
  • Amorose, Anthony
  • Bates, Samantha
  • Newman, Tarkington
  • Okamoto, Katlin
  • Volek, Ana
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2019
  • Published In


  • 42
  • Issue

  • 4