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Assessing Parent Perceptions of Physical Activity in Families of Toddlers With Neurodevelopmental Disorders: The Parent Perceptions of Physical Activity Scale (PPPAS).



The purpose of this study was to examine a new tool (PPPAS = Parent Perceptions of Physical Activity Scale-Preschool) developed to study parental perceptions of physical activity (PA) among parents of toddler and preschool age children.


143 children (mean age 31.65 months; 75% male) and their parents were recruited from a neurodevelopmental clinic. Parents completed questionnaires, and both a psychologist and a physician evaluated the children. Eighty-three percent of the children received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder; 20% of the children had a BMI > 85th percentile. Analyses were conducted to evaluate the reliability, concurrent validity, discriminant validity, and predictive validity of PPPAS scores.


Results supported a two-factor structure: Perceptions of the Benefits of PA and the Barriers to PA. The internal consistency of scores was good for both PPPAS subscales, derived from the two factors. Parent perceptions of barriers to PA were significantly correlated with delays in overall adaptive functioning, daily living skills, socialization, and motor skills. When a child's motor skills were delayed, parents were less likely to believe PA was beneficial and perceived more barriers to PA. Parent perceptions of barriers to PA predicted parent-reported weekly unstructured PA and ratings of how physically active their child was compared with other children.


We present the PPPAS-Preschool for use in pediatric exercise research and discuss potential applications for the study of parent perceptions of PA in young children.

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