Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Ambika Krishnakumar

Second Advisor

Lutchmie Narine


Adolescents, Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Structural Equation Modeling

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society


This dissertation tested conceptual frameworks for models of physical activity and sedentary behavior based upon social cognitive theory and ecological models. The sample consisted of 527 7th and 8th graders from 3 rural schools in upstate New York. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that there were direct influences of environmental support, intrapersonal factors, parental modeling for physical activity, and physical health to levels of adolescent physical activity. Sedentary behavior was influenced by parental modeling for sedentary behavior and parental encouragement for sedentary behavior. In addition, using a mediating conceptual framework, intrapersonal factors mediated the relationships of environmental support, encouragement, mental health, and physical health to levels of physical activity. Studying physical activity and sedentary behavior should continue to use guided, theory-based approaches with sound statistical designs. This research supported the conceptualization that physical activity and sedentary behavior are not opposite ends of a spectrum, but are distinct behaviors with different factors of influence.


Open Access