Physical activity, well-being and need satisfaction in eight and nine-year-old children from socio-economic disadvantage

Gavin Breslin, Ben Fitzpatrick, Deirdre Brennan, Stephen Shannon, Ruth Rafferty, Wesley O'Brien, Sarajane Belton, Fiona Chambers, Tandy Haughey, Darryl McCullagh, Richard Gormley, Donncha Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Need-supportive environments have been shown tocontribute to children’s physical activity levels, and in a few casesto well-being. Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), thisstudy aimed to determine the influence of psychological need(competence and social relatedness) satisfaction on physicalactivity levels and well-being in children from areas of social andeconomic disadvantage.Method: A total of 211 children aged eight and nine years fromareas of low socio-economic status wore an accelerometer for oneweek, and completed a questionnaire assessing psychologicalneed satisfaction and well-being. Confirmatory factor analysis andpath analysis were conducted to assess the factor structure of themeasures, and to test for theory predicting significantrelationships between psychological needs, physical activity andwell-being.Results: The factor structure of the instruments was supported, anda significant positive relationship was found between athleticcompetence and physical activity (β = 0.19). Athletic competence(β = 0.19), along with parental relatedness (β = 0.32), positivelypredicted children’s well-being. Physical activity alone did notpredict well-beingConclusions: Practitioners may want to consider components ofSDT, reflective of need-supportive environments, when designingphysical activity interventions. Interventions aimed at supportingchildren’s perceptions of competence, and the involvement ofparents, may offer the opportunity to increase well-being.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Care in Practice
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017


  • Physical Activity
  • well-being


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