Parental factors that influence swimming in children and adolescents


Swimming can be an important source of physical activity across the life-span. Researchers have found that parents influence physical activity behaviors of their children. The purpose of this study was to determine what parental factors influenced the number of days that children swam. Survey respondents (n = 1,909) from six cities across the United States were surveyed at local YMCAs. Children were found to swim significantly more if their parents encouraged them to swim, members of the family knew how to swim and swam with them, or their parents were not afraid of the children drowning or afraid of drowning themselves. The number of times that parents swam was the strongest predictor of the number of times children swam and explained 41% of the variance. A cyclical, familial pattern was found which included encouragement, fear of drowning, and swimming frequency. Introducing strategies to reduce fear of drowning may prove to be an effective intervention to increase physical activity in children.

Publication Title

International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education