2014 - Research

We Never See Children in Parks: A Qualitative Examination of the Role of Safety Concerns on Physical Activity Among Children

Key takeaway: Parental safety concerns and perceptions of crime in recreational areas may limit child physical activity.

Results:

  • There were two large themes drawn from participants in this study: recreational areas are perceived to have criminal activity, and safety concerns are a barrier to physical activity.
  • Within the theme of safety concerns as barriers to physical activity, subthemes included:
    • Parental fear of crime inhibits use of public recreational spaces.
    • Parental perceptions of police as non-responsive and untrustworthy reduces the use of public spaces where children might play.
    • Parents’ safety concerns may result in intense supervision requirements that limit child physical activity.

Methods:

  • This study gathered qualitative data from 6 focus groups with 44 parents of elementary school students in the Mississippi Delta.

Citation: Rader, N.E., Byrd, S.H., Fountain, B.J., Bounds, C.W., Gray, V., Fruge, A.D., We Never See Children in Parks: A Qualitative Examination of the Role of Safety Concerns on Physical Activity among Children. (2014). Journal of Physical Activity and Health. [Epub ahead of print.]