Int J Exerc Sci 2018 1;11(5):137-151. Epub 2018 May 1.
Department of Family & Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
Afterschool youth physical activity (PA) programs provide opportunities for increasing children's time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). However, low program attendance reduces the benefits of participating in these programs. The purpose of this study was to determine if enjoyment, athletic competence and motivation for PA predict youth attendance at a free afterschool PA program from 3rd to 5th grade. Data were collected from a larger randomized community trial examining the effectiveness of an afterschool program for increasing opportunities to engage in MVPA. Data were collected twice annually (fall/spring) over 3 school years (3 - 5 grade) in 9 schools. Analyses were stratified by grade and sex, and a series of multi-level linear regression models were utilized to determine if baseline levels of the psychosocial determinants predicted annual attendance as a percentage of afterschool sessions attended. Amotivation for PA was negatively associated with attendance in boys and non-self-determined extrinsic motivation was positively associated with attendance in girls in the 5 grade. Age was associated with a 13.72% reduction in attendance in the 3rd grade, a 12.87% attendance reduction in the 4th grade, and a 7.93% attendance in reduction in the 5th grade. Race was also associated with attendance. Non-White youth attended the program 13.56% less in the 3rd grade, 17.35% less in the 4th grade, and 21.53% less in the 5th grade than White youth. The findings suggest that attendance to PA afterschool programming may be associated with children's motivational characteristics, but that other variables should be identified for further research.