Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Kathy James, RN, DNSc, FAAN, Chairperson; Ann Mayo, RN, DNSc, FAAN; Jane Georges, RN, PhD


Arab Americans, children & youth, nursing, obesity, parents & parenting, physical activity, psychosocial, southern California


Physical activity is an integral part of preventing and managing childhood and adolescent obesity. Lack of regular physical activity has negative impact on physical and psychosocial health. Arab Americans (AAs), one of the most rapidly growing minorities in United States, tend to have a high prevalence of obesity and low participation in physical activity. The purpose of this study was to describe determinants of physical activity, including self-efficacy, social support, physical environment, and selected demographics among AA children in Southern California. A descriptive correlational study using a cross sectional design was conducted. Self-administered questionnaires were completed by children (N=206) recruited from mosques, churches, and family social gathering events located in Southern California. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Multiple linear regression was performed to examine the variance of physical activity in AA children. The majority of participants were girls (53%). The sample mean age was 12.1 (SD = 1.49) years. The mean of the final Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children (PAQ-C) summary score was 2.39 (SD = 0.648). The study participants exhibited a moderate level of physical activity. In the regression model the data explained 51.6% of the variance (F [11,194] = 18.782; P < 0.000). Participants with higher self-efficacy overcome barriers (β = .071; p = .020) and higher self-efficacy positive alternatives (β = .063; p = .025) are expected to have higher level of physical activity. Participants with greater social support from parents (β = .145; p = .017) and friends (β = .321; p = .000) are expected to have higher level of physical activity. The level of physical activity decreased as participant age increased (β = -.076; p = .001). Finally, physical environment was not a predictor of physical activity. AA children, and older AA children in particular, may need close monitoring of their physical activity. Future interventions to improve physical activity should be designed that include considerations of promoting self-efficacy and social support.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons