What do you like to do in Your Free Time? Activity Preferences of Adolescents Born Extremely Preterm
Journal of Child and Adolescent Behaviour
Aim: To describe activity preferences of adolescents born extremely preterm and the association between child and environmental factors with activity preferences. Methods: Participants included 127 adolescents between 12 and 20 years of age born at ≤ 29 weeks gestation. Mean age was 16.0 years (SD=2.4 years) and the sample included 67 females. Leisure preferences were assessed using the Preferences for Activities of Children questionnaire. Cognitive ability was assessed by a psychologist using
... psychologist using the Leiter-R brief IQ and motor competence was evaluated by a physical or occupational therapist using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition. Other potential determinants of activity preferences included gestational age, maternal education, behavior, mastery motivation, self-perception, social supports and environmental barriers which were assessed using standardized tests and questionnaires. Results: Adolescents born extremely preterm reported a high level of interest in a variety of leisure activities, especially social pursuits. Girls preferred social (p=0.004), skill-based (p=0.001) and self-improvement activities (p<0.001) than boys, and boys preferred active-physical activities (p=0.01) than girls. Activity preferences did not differ according to age and motor competence. Adolescents with lower cognitive ability (IQ<80) had lower preference for social activities than those with higher cognitive ability (p=0.028). Sex and mastery motivation explained 23% (skill-based), 28% (social) and 36% (active-physical) of the variance for activity preferences. Conclusion: Child and environmental factors influence activity preferences. Providing positive sex-specific activities in which adolescents born extremely preterm can experience mastery motivation and early successes may enhance healthy choices and continued participation in this population. Healthy choices may be supported by providing adolescents with affordable leisure opportunities in which they will overcome fear of failure, and will experience mastery and competence by designing or adapting existing activities to individual skill level. Attracting and retaining adolescents born extremely preterm in active hobbies may be achieved by fostering physical health and skill development within preferred activities, such as social pursuits.