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Children's Perceptions of Their School's Environment and Its Influence on Their Active and Inactive Behaviors: The Case of One Rural Elementary School Open Access


Other title
School's Influence
Physical Activity
Elementary school children
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bayduza, Angela L
Supervisor and department
Causgrove Dunn, Janice (Physical Eduaction and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Poth, Cheryl (Education)
McHugh, Tara-Leigh (Physical Education and Recreation)
Rodgers, Wendy (Physical Education and Recreation)
Weiss, Maureen (University of Minnesota)
Holt, Nicholas (Physical Education and Recreation)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain insight into the relationships among school setting, student perceptions of that setting, and PA (physical activity) and PIA (physical inactivity) behaviour. Children's perceptions of various aspects of the school environment were explored to reveal components perceived by children to have influence on their PA and PIA behaviour while they are at school. Guided by Bandura's (1986) Social Cognitive Theory and Moos' (1979) Social Ecological Framework, the reciprocal triad between the school environment, child, and varying levels of PA and PIA behaviours of children while at school, was examined. A qualitative instrumental case study methodology was employed and one bounded case was purposefully selected to explore PA and PIA influences of a school and children's perceptions of these influences. Participant-observations (informal) of children, teachers, and administrative staff at one elementary school were completed to identify key PA and PIA school influences. Participant-observations of children (informal) over a 3 week period, in combination with teacher consultations, were also used to purposefully identify focal children of varying levels of PA and PIA behaviour. First an in-class pre-interview activity that employed a mental mapping technique was completed where children in each of the elementary classrooms were asked to draw the PA and PIA spaces at their school. Second, interviews with 19 children, who had been identified as focal children and had returned consent forms, were completed. Questions and observational comments about the focal children's drawings were used to solicit how they perceived their school had influence on their PA and PIA behaviours. Interviews with administration and teachers were also conducted to further explore children's responses from other (e.g., instructional and administrative) points of view. Results showed that DPE, PA throughout the school day, social support, and interest were significant PA and PIA influences perceived by the participant children at the school. The concluding chapter provides highlights of these results, a summary of the work, and recommendations for further study.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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