The mediating role of the home environment in relation to parental educational level and preschool children’s screen time: a cross-sectional study

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/219026

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BMC Public Health. 2017 Sep 02;17(1):688

Title: The mediating role of the home environment in relation to parental educational level and preschool children’s screen time: a cross-sectional study
Author: Määttä, Suvi; Kaukonen, Riikka; Vepsäläinen, Henna; Lehto, Elviira; Ylönen, Anna; Ray, Carola; Erkkola, Maijaliisa; Roos, Eva
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date: 2017-09-02
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/219026
Abstract: Abstract Background Previous studies suggest that preschoolers from low socioeconomic backgrounds engage in more screen time. Still, the factors in the social and physical home environment driving these differences in preschool children’s screen time are poorly understood. This study examines potential home environment mediators in the associations between parental educational level and preschoolers’ screen time. Methods A total of 864 children aged 3–6 years and their parents participated in a cross-sectional DAGIS study in 2015–2016. Parents recorded their children’s screen time in a diary (N = 823). For the analyses, the daily average screen time at home was calculated. Parental questionnaires (N = 808) assessed educational level and eight social and physical environment factors in the home (i.e., descriptive norm for children’s screen time, parental screen use in front of children, parental importance for limiting children’s screen time, parental attitude toward societal pressures for children’s screen time, access to screens at home, parental self-efficacy for limiting children’s screen time, satisfaction of children’s screen time, and rules for limiting children’s screen time). Parental education was grouped into low, middle, and high education. The associations were tested by conducting mediation analyses adjusted by season and children’s sex and age. The significant mediators in the single-mediator models were included in the final multiple-mediator models. Results Of the potential eight mediators, the following four had a significant indirect association: descriptive norm for children’s screen time, parental screen use in front of children, parental importance for limiting children’s screen time, and parental attitude toward societal pressures for children’s screen time. Parents with high education had lower descriptive norm and used fewer screens in front of children compared to parents with middle or low education, and in turn, these factors were associated with less screen time among children from parents with a higher education level. Parents with high education placed greater importance on limiting children’s screen time and felt less societal pressures about children’s screen time compared to parents with low education, and in turn, these factors were associated with less screen time among children from parents with a higher education level. Conclusions Our study recognized multiple modifiable mediators in the associations between parental education and preschool children’s screen time. When aiming to diminish socioeconomic status differences in preschool children’s screen time, the focus should be on parental role models, attitudes, and norm related to children’s screen time.
Subject: Sedentary lifestyle
Socioeconomic factors
Home environment
Screen time
Preschool children


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