Student Author(s)

Mary Kelso

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown

Document Type


Event Date



Parents and children must be engaged in dialogue about health, exercise, and activity to combat the inactive lifestyle contributing towards the obesity epidemic. A direct relationship exists between inactivity and the time children spend using a screen each day, whether through TV, video games, or the internet (Rideout & Hamel, 2006). Prior research has shown that the education level of parents can have a significant effect on their child’s development and self-efficacy (Bandura et. al, 2001). Rideout and Hamel (2006) stressed the influence of parent education on a child’s media use, suggesting that on average, a child with parents who have a high school diploma spend significantly more time watching TV in a typical day than children whose parents are college graduates. The purpose of the present study was to identify the relationship between parents’ level of education and their children’s activity preference, self-efficacy, and screen time, and to discuss the implication that parent education serves as a preventive and vital step in achieving a healthier lifestyle. Kindergarten and first-grade children and their parents participated in the study. Parents’ education and children’s screen time per day were collected using a parent survey. Activity preference and self-efficacy were measured using worksheets completed by children in the classroom. Mothers’ education was found to be significantly positively correlated with children’s activity preference. Overall, highest parent education was significantly negatively correlated with children’s screen time. It was also found that children’s self-efficacy was significantly negatively correlated with children’s screen time, which was an unexpected result. Implications of this research are that improving parent education may be a beneficial and preventative measure in striving to improve the physical and mental health of children.


This research was funded by a grant from The Kellogg Foundation.