Create a 4 slide presentation with speaker notes examining the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics used in the journal article you were assigned. Presentation should be at least 20 minutes and presented in class.
article, please consider providing descriptions/explanations of the following inferential statistics, such that what are they use for, what are they used to test – Chi square test and multivariate logistic regression. These are the major inferential statistics used in this are kids to busy study article. How are these tests related to meet the study article objective/purpose. Can discuss descriptive statistics in relation to the sample (results from demographics – gender and age for kids busyness levels) Check in with you other team members to be sure they discuss what is the sample for the study, what are the independent and dependent variables of the study and again how these relate to the descriptive and selected inferential statistics used in the study article.
BACKGROUND: The activity patterns of children, especially after-school patterns, are receiving more professional attention. However, evidence regarding the value of various activities in children’s lives is contradictory. The purpose of this study was to assess perceptions of discretionary activities, overscheduling, and levels of stress from adolescents’ perspective.
METHODS: A sample of 882 children, ages 9 to 13, recruited at 9 health education centers in the United States was selected for this study. Children answered questionnaires using remote, handheld devices. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression. The outcomes of interest were activity-based stress and desire for more free time.
RESULTS: The primary predictor for the desire for more free time was hours of screen time (television, computer, video games): those who reported 3 or more hours were nearly 3 times more likely to desire more free time. Further, children who chose their own activities experienced more activity-related stress than those who shared decisions with parents. The single greatest predictor of activity-related stress was the reported number of hours spent on homework. Students who averaged at least 2 hours on homework per night were nearly twice as likely to report frequent activity-related stress.
CONCLUSION: Parents of school-aged children should assess activity-related stress and the degree to which children perceive they are busy. Teachers, school counselors, and school administrators should be aware of these perceptions as they are making decisions regarding school schedules and should teach personal skills such as time management and stress control.
Keywords: children and adolescent health; perceived stress; overscheduling of activities.
Citation: Brown SL, Nobiling BD, Teufel J, Birch DA. Are kids too busy? Early adolescents’ perceptions of discretionary activities, overscheduling, and stress. J Sch Health J Sch Health. 2011; 81: 574-580.
Received on February 12, 2010
Accepted on September 2, 2010
With increasing rates of childhood overweight, more attention has been given to the activity patterns of children, especially after-school patterns. Studies have shown that increases in television viewing and homework among children since the 1970s are leading to more sedentary lifestyles.[ 1-3] According to the Youth Risk Behavior Study in 2007, more than a third of adolescents watched television for 3 or more hours on an typical school day,[ 4]and about one fourth played video games or used computers for nonscholastic purposes 3 or more hours on an average school day.[ 4] Television viewing of more than 3 to 4 hours a day has been linked to lower school performance.[ 5]
A recent study by the Youth Media Campaign Longitudinal Survey (YMCLS) explored the potential associations among limit-setting, physical activity, and screen time among 9-13-year-olds.[ 6] This study found positive associations among age, male gender, black race/ethnicity, low-income, and hours of screen time. Conversely, the study found negative associations among physical activity (both free-time and organized activities), parental limits on screen time, and likelihood to exceed 2 hours of screen time each day.[ 6] Associations found in this study raise questions regarding the parental role in screen time restriction and parental control over other daily activities.
Findings like these have prompted questions about what children’s schedules are really like. In a culture where parents are encouraged to value their children’s autonomy,[ 7] are children allowed to be involved in too many activities? Are parents encouraging too many activities? And, in addition to calorie imbalances, are children and adolescents experiencing other undesirable side effects? To date, there has been little research on children’s perceptions of stress and busyness.
Perhaps the most important study on children’s time was conducted by Hofferth and Sandberg.[ 7, 8] It investigated how children under the age of 13 spend their time, and how variables such as parents’ level of education, family size, and family dynamics affected children’s school achievement. They categorized time usage in 4 ways: (a) time spent in school settings; (b) free play versus organized activities; (c) learning activities outside the classroom; and (d) family activities. Although television viewing time did not affect scores of achievement tests of reading, writing, and mathematics abilities, family time did.[ 7] Children who reported more family meal time were more proficient identifying letters and reading words aloud, as well as solving word problems. Family time also affected scores of the behavioral index, which measures parental perceptions of their children’s behavior problems. The study also found that children with employed mothers had less free time for both structured and unstructured activities, primarily due to increased time in daycare settings.[ 7]
Compared to teens in East Asia or Europe, American teens spend more of their waking hours in discretionary activities, 50% versus 25-35% in East Asia and 35-45% in Europe.[ 5] Hofferth[ 7] compared American children’s lives in 1997 to those in 1981, concluding that children have lost 12% of regular free time, 25% of play activities, and 50% of unstructured activities. Conversely, contemporary children spend 50% more time involved with structured sports and homework.[ 7]
Research regarding the value of structured versus unstructured activity is unclear. Some studies report mostly positive outcomes from structured activities, while others have shown associations with increased stress and “overscheduling” conflicts. Similarly, while a few studies suggest that unstructured (and unsupervised) play can lead to delinquency, others argue that depriving children of unorganized activities dampens creativity and decisionmaking.[ 9, 10]
Social scientists as early as Piaget believed that unstructured play was an opportunity for various forms of development, including social, linguistic, cognitive, and emotional. Research suggests that unstructured play is crucial in providing children opportunities to acquire resiliency skills.[ 11, 12] Wenner[ 13]gives 3 propositions to support the need for free play in childhood: ( 1) “Childhood play is crucial for social, emotional, and cognitive development. ( 2) Imaginative and rambunctious ‘free play,’ as opposed to games or structured activities, is the most essential type. ( 3) Kids and animals that do not play when they are young may grow into anxious, socially maladjusted adults”[ 13] (p. 24). His last point alludes to the work of psychiatrist Stuart Brown, who interviewed approximately 6000 individuals regarding their childhoods. Brown’s data suggest a clear association between the amount of free play as children and adjustment and happiness as adults. Lawson[ 5] suggests that the best approach for development is likely a combination of structured and unstructured activities that can teach personal and social skills, develop good habits, and allow kids to play as an outlet to combat daily stressors.
This study investigated early adolescents’ perceptions of the degree of busyness and stress in their own lives. Eight research questions guided the study. Although not specifically written to measure the performance indicators related to the National Health Education Standards, 3 items generally addressed 3 standards (NHES) for grades 3-5 and 6-8 (Table 1).[ 14]
This study was conducted as part of KidsHealth Kids-Poll. The project was a collaborative effort among a university research team, the Nemours Foundation, the National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC), and participating NAHEC member, health education centers.
Following institutional review board approval, children aged 9 to 13 years, who were students at schools attending classes in 9 health education centers across 6 states, were recruited for the study. Prior to each school’s visit to the center, officials at the school were contacted for permission to administer the survey to students during the visit to the center. If the school agreed, passive parent permission for the survey was obtained with each parent’s permission for the student to visit the center. As a sample of convenience, demographic data for the students in the sample approximated National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) statistics for the same age group. Students in the group ranged in age from 9 to 13, with an average age of 10.3; 53% were boys.
Other demographic data were collected at the school level, rather than from each student. A total of 883 students came from 21 schools. At the school level, 61% were White, 23% Black, 13% Hispanic, 2% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1% Native American. The US Census Bureau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was used to measure locale. Seventeen percent of schools were in large city centers, 9% midsize city centers, 28% large city fringe, 5% midsize city fringe, 1% large towns, 18% small towns, and 9% rural. Average school size was 501.
Instrument items were not on a scale; therefore, internal reliability was not applicable. To address face validity of the survey, the research team along with experts in the area of child development, school health education, and stress in children constructed the instrument. These experts represented both the education and medical professions. In addition, the final version of the instrument was reviewed by school principals and teachers prior to administration. The instrument was piloted with 1 class at 1 participating center. The data collection method, using handheld devices, had been used at all of the participating centers in previous KidsHealth KidsPoll studies. Before the actual administration of the questionnaire, students were allowed to practice with the handheld devices.
The 10-item child-friendly questionnaire included 2 demographic items and 8 construct-related items. Students answered each item using handheld data collection devices. Items on the instrument addressed each of the study’s 8 research questions, including the amount and type of activities in which participants are involved. In this study, child participants were told the word “activity” meant activities that are planned or organized, such as sports, lessons, teams, clubs, groups, scouts, or tutoring.
Data collected with handheld response devices were imported into the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL). An alpha level of .05 was established a priori. Descriptive statistics such as proportions, central tendency, and variance were calculated. Inferential statistics included Pearson product correlation and multivariate logistic regression for nominal data assessing odds ratios for outcomes based on predictive variables.
The vast majority (62%) of students claim that they choose their own out-of-school activities, followed by 29% who say they use cooperative decisionmaking with their parents. Only 9% said their parents chose most of their activities. Older students were more likely to claim autonomy over their activities.
Reports of screen time were bimodal; about half reported 2 or fewer hours of screen time, while over 40% reported more than 3 hours. Boys were more likely to report more than 3 hours. Older students were also more likely to report 3 or more hours of screen time. There were no gender differences among those who chose the activities or the number of activities.
More than three fourths (82%) of participants claimed to have an hour or less of homework per night. Ten percent said they have about 2 hours, and 8% reported having 3 or more hours per night. Neither gender, age, who chose activities, or number of activities was associated with time spent on homework.
Interestingly, most participants either said their school gave the right amount (39%) or way too much homework (36%). There were no differences by gender, number of activities, or who chose activities. About the same proportion of those who reported <1, 1, and 2 hours of homework thought their schools gave too much homework (34%, 28%, and 30%), while those who reported 3+ hours of homework were much more likely (66%) to say they get way too much homework.
The great majority of students wished they had a lot more free time. Boys were more likely to wish for more free time (66% vs. 54%) (Table 2). When forced to select only 1 activity in which to engage if they had more free time, nearly half (45%) said they would hang out or play with friends. Another fourth (26%) said sports or other physical activity. Thirteen percent said their first choice would be family time, and only 6% chose reading. Ten percent chose “none of these.” Boys were more likely to say sports or physical activity (32% vs. 19%), whereas girls were more apt to select time with friends (52% vs. 39%). Older students were also more likely to name time with friends (9 = 37%,10 = 43%,11 = 49%,12+ = 58%) (Table 3).
TABLE: Table 1. Relationship Between Research Questions and National Health Education Standards (NHES)
Item Number 1 Research Question How many non-school -related activities are children involved in? NHES 2 Who chooses children’s activities? — 3 What is the average amount of daily screen time (ie, TV, video games, computer) children engage in? — 4 What is the average time spent doing homework during the school week? — 5 What are children’s perceptions of the amount of time dedicated to homework regularly? Standard 2.8.4: Analyze how the school and community can impact health practices and behaviors 6 Do children wish they had more free time? — 7 Do children wish they had more free time? — 8 What would children choose to do with more free time? Standard 5.8.7: Analyze the outcomes of a health-related decision
To statistically control for intercorrelation among variables, odds ratios were calculated using multivariate logistic regression. The outcomes of interest were activity-based stress and desire for more free time. When analyzed together, the primary predictor for desire for more free time was hours of screen time. Those who reported 3 or more hours of screen time per day were nearly 3 times more likely to desire more free time than those who reported 2 or fewer hours of screen time.
When analyzed with the effect of the other variables, participants who said they cooperate with their parents in choosing activities were less likely to be frequently “stressed about all they do” than those who either chose their own activities or whose parents chose most of their activities. Further, having more activities, particularly 3 or more, doubled the likelihood that children will say they are stressed by all they do. Excessive screen time also doubled the likelihood of frequent stress. The single greatest predictor of activity-related stress was the reported number of hours spent on homework. Students who said they average about 2 hours of homework per night were nearly twice as likely to report frequent activity-related stress. Those who said they do 3 or more hours per night were almost 5 times as likely to report this stress (Table 4).
Results of average screen time reported in this study are consistent with existing literature. Other studies have found that children spend an average range of 13-30 hours per week watching television.[ 15, 16] Participants most often recorded that if they had more free time they would most likely choose to spend it hanging out with friends. Since the term “hanging out” is likely to involve unstructured activities, this finding supports research indicating that children and adolescents prefer free play.[ 9, 10, 13] And although a few research studies warn that excessive unstructured play with peers may lead to delinquency,[ 8] spending more time with others can build interpersonal skills and foster the development of social health.[ 12]
Studies have also linked levels of child busyness to levels of parents’ busyness, implying that the busier parents are, the busier their children tend to be. Quist posits that “if parents are the ones who are too busy, perhaps the children are registered in a myriad of organized activities because Mom and Dad don’t have the time in their schedule to spend with them”[ 10] (p. 27). Clearly interventions including parents are necessary to promote the importance of spending quality and quantity time with their children. Quantity time does not have to be structured; deliberate activities, such as doing chores around the house, going for a walk, or sitting outside together, can offer many teaching moments. For quantity time to occur, parents and children alike need to “unschedule” themselves[ 5] (p. 27).
TABLE: Table 2. Frequencies of Responses by Gender and Age for Items 1-4
Gender Age Total (%) Boys(%) Girls (%) 9 (%) 10 (%) 11 (%) 12+ (%) Activities besides school:* — — — — — — None 14 14 15 11 15 13 25 One 25 26 23 34 24 21 19 Two 22 23 21 22 24 21 17 Three 15 13 17 9 13 18 15 Four or more 24 24 24 24 24 27 24 Who chooses activities?* — — — — — — — My parents/guardians 9 10 6 14 8 7 3 We both choose 29 28 31 33 29 27 28 I choose most activities 62 62 63 53 63 66 69 How many hours of screen time on most school days?*,† — — — — — — — Less than 1 hour 20 15 23 21 23 21 9 1 hour 15 14 17 19 17 12 11 2 hours 16 14 19 16 16 18 15 3 hours 7 7 6 9 6 7 3 3 or more hours 42 50 35 35 38 42 62 Hours of homework on school days: — — — — — — — Less than 1 hour 59 59 58 64 56 61 53 1 hour 23 22 23 21 26 21 25 2 hours 10 11 10 7 11 11 12 3 or more hours 8 8 9 8 7 7 10 * ?2 tests statistically significant for age (p < .05); N = 882. †?2 tests statistically significant for gender (p < .05).
Future studies should explore children’s perceptions of their parents’ busyness. Recent polling data[ 17, 18] have shown that many parents (especially middle-class parents) have become increasingly aware and concerned about these trends, yet feel powerless to make changes and stem the tide. A Search Institute poll found that 41% of parents said their “child being overscheduled in so many activities” made parenting difficult[ 19] (p. 9). School and community officials can also add to the problem of overscheduled children by promoting numerous extracurricular activities to children without considering the possible consequences these activities may have on the family unit.
New initiatives, such as Family Time First and Family Time IN, community action initiatives developed by Doherty[ 20] and colleagues with Eden Prairie and Southeast Minnesota community members, respectively, have been developed to teach families how to increase and prioritize family time. These community-organizing approaches, though relatively new, expect to strengthen the family by trying to prevent family overscheduling and hyperactivity.[ 20]
Family mealtime has also been receiving more focus as a research topic. Controlling for variables such as income, family structure, and social class, frequency of family mealtime is positively associated with childhood well-being.[ 21, 22] Unfortunately there has been a decline in the proportion of married-couple households who eat dinner together.[ 23] One study showed a decrease from 50% in 1977 to 34% in 1999.[ 7] Family structure and age of children also influence family mealtime. For instance, families where mothers are employed[ 16] and families whose children are older[ 23] spend less time eating as a family. Investigating how societal family time trends are filtered through cultural influences may also deserve further exploration. For example, White families spend less time eating together than Black and Hispanic families, who in turn eat together less than Asian families.[ 22]All of these researches suggest that the decline in family mealtime due to busier schedules of children and parents may have implications for children and parents alike.
These societal changes also show up in other parent-child time interactions. For instance, children in male breadwinner-female homemaker families read more than children in any other types of families. The researchers concluded that the differences were largely predicted by the amount of time the parent had available.[ 7] Interestingly, the study found no significant association between homework during the elementary grades and academic achievement, meaning the amount of homework given by elementary school teachers predicts nothing in terms of children’s academic achievement. However, there was a significant association with the amount of time spent reading outside the classroom. All these perhaps suggest that educators and parents should work together to ensure that more homework time is devoted to reading at home.
TABLE: Table 3. Frequencies of Responses by Gender and Age for Items 5-8
Gender Age Total (%) Boys (%) Girls (%) 9 (%) 10 (%) 11 (%) 12+ (%) Do you think school gives you:* — — — — — — — Somewhat or way too little homework 11 11 10 11 9 15 8 About right amount of homework 39 36 44 40 43 43 24 Somewhat too much homework 14 13 15 10 13 13 24 Way too much homework 36 40 31 39 35 29 44 Which matches your feelings:† — — — — — — — Wish had a little or a lot less free time 4 3 4 4 3 4 2 Feel have the right amount of free time 18 16 22 22 17 18 14 Wish had a little more free time 17 15 20 13 20 17 17 Wish had a lot more free time 61 66 54 61 60 61 67 How often do you feel stressed? — — — — — — — Never 10 11 7 10 11 10 5 Once in a while 26 24 29 33 27 25 17 Some of the time 23 23 24 18 23 23 29 Most of the time 17 16 18 17 15 18 23 Always 24 26 22 22 24 24 26 What would you do with more time?*,† — — — — — — — Play sports/physical activity 26 32 19 29 28 23 24 Spend time with family 13 12 15 12 16 15 5 Read 6 5 6 11 4 4 4 Hang out/play with friends 45 39 52 37 43 49 58 None of these 10 12 8 11 9 9 — *? tests statistically significant for age (p < .05); N = 882. †?2 tests statistically significant for gender (p < .05).
In this study, the relationship between perceived level of stress and the desire for more free time was bimodal. More specific studies on the relationship between hours of screen time and perceived level of stress could test whether our findings were anomalies or in fact peculiar phenomenon deserving of further investigation.
This study did not look at family dynamics; doing so may provide additional insight into the issue of children’s perceived busyness levels. Variables such as culture, head of household, parental employment, and parental education levels may also allow a deeper, more thorough understanding of children’s lives.[ 4] Although this study used non-random sampling, sample demographics parallel those from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).[ 24] NCES “is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.”[ 24]
School health educators must be sensitive to and aware of students’ commitments outside of the classroom. Teachers must appreciate the many hats children must wear on a regular basis. For example, a 10-year-old girl who is a full-time student, takes dance classes 3 days a week, is involved in Girl Scouts, sings in a church choir, and is involved in intramural sports, may not perform as consistently on standardized tests due to external variables that may affect her day-today health. Further, middle and high school teachers must be sensitive to the fact that their students are juggling 6 to 7 academic subjects. And because most teachers do not coordinate their assignments, students may have little homework some weeks and hours a night other weeks. This homework pattern is on top of the normal challenges puberty brings. Many high school students are also busy with part-time jobs, sports teams, and romantic relationships.
School health instruction should promote the development of skills specific to decision making, goal setting, and time management. Health education teachers can address these skills through instructional activities and assessment products based on decision-making inventories, responses to decision-making scenarios, and goal setting and time management scenarios. Schools, parents, and other stakeholders can work together to develop policies related to the amount of time spent on homework and other extracurricular school activities. Such initiatives could meet NHES addressed in this study. Schools and their respective communities can impact health practices and behaviors by affecting children’s perceptions of the amount of time spent on homework regularly, and influencing how environment impacts students’ personal health (Standards 2.8.4 and 1.8.3, respectively).[ 14]
Existing literature related to busyness among both children and their parents indicates the importance of parent and family involvement in school health education. Birch[ 25]has identified involvement in decision making, health education programs designed for parents and family members, and at-home learning activities as 3 types of parent and family involvement. In addition, parents and other family members could be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of after-school programs. These programs could serve as another forum for addressing youth busyness and other stressors related to hectic lifestyles. It is important to note that research suggests that participation in after-school programs is associated with higher test scores and academic achievement, especially for low-income children.[ 26, 27]
In addition to the above-mentioned skills, children and parents may benefit from instruction in stress management and coping. Acquisition of these skills, through lessons on stress appraisal and social support, for example, may allow students to analyze outcomes of health-related decisions (NHES, 5.8.7).[ 14]
TABLE: Table 4. Odds Ratio (OR) (With 95% CI) for “Wish for More Free Time” and Stressed “Always” or “Most of the Time” Because of Too Much to Do†
Wish for More Free Time OR (CI) Stressed “Always” or “Most of the Time” OR (CI) Gender — — Girls 1 .0 1 .0 Boys 1. 3? (0.88-1. 94) 1. 1 (0. 77-1.54) Age ( years) — — 9 1.0 1.0 10 1.4 (0. 82-2.30) 1. 1 (0. 72-1.79) 11 1.1 (0. 68-1.91) 1. 1 (0. 70-1.80) 12+ 1.5 (0. 74-3.01) 1. 2 (0. 66-2.08) Who chooses activities? — — Child 1.0 1.0 50/50 0.8 (0. 53-1.27) 0.6* (0. 40-0.90) Parent 1.1 (0. 52-2.36) 1. 5 (0. 78-2.78) Number of activities — — 0 1.0 1.0 1 1.0 (0. 50-2.03) 1. 2 (0. 59-2.28) 2 1.0 (0. 51-2.12) 1. 4 (0. 73-2.82) 3 1.7 (0. 77-3.90) 2.1* (1. 01-4.23) 4 or more 1.4 (0. 68-2.90) 2.2* (1. 13-4.29) Hours of homework — — <1 1.0 1.0 1 1.3 (0. 81-2.13) 0. 9 (0. 57-1.32) 2 2.3* (1. 07-4.99) 1.7* (1. 00-3.01) 3 or more 1.1 (0. 54-2.34) 4.7* (2. 41-9.31) Hours of screen time — — <1 1.0 1.0 1 1.1 (0. 59-1.89) 1.8* (1. 02-3.20) 2 1.7 (0. 94-3.06) 0. 9 (0. 48-1.57) 3 or more 2.7? (1. 63-4.53) 1.9? (1. 17-3.01) CI, confidence interval. *p< .05. † ORN = 882.
This study was approved by the institutional review board at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
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9. Burdette HL, Whitaker RC. Resurrecting free play in young children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:46-50.
10. Quist D. Who’s Playing Around Now? Overscheduled Parents Mean Overscheduled Kids. IMFC Review. Canada: Institute of Marriage and Family; 2007. Available at: http://www.imfcanada.org/article_files/Who’s_Playing_Around_Now.pdf. Accessed May 18, 2009.
11. McHale SM, Crouter AC, Tucker CJ. Free-time activities in middle childhood: links with adjustment in early adolescence. Child Dev. 2001;72(6):1764-1778.
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13. Wenner M. The serious need for play. Sci Am Mind. 2009;20(1):22-29.
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By STEPHEN L. BROWN, PhD, Associate Professor, ([email protected]), Southern Illinois University, 475 Clocktower Drive (Mailcode 4632), Carbondale, IL 62901; BRANDYE D. NOBILING, PhD, CHESb; JAMES TEUFEL, Doctoral Candidate, ([email protected]), Southern Illinois University, 475 Clocktower Drive (Mailcode 4632), Carbondale, IL 62901 and DAVID A. BIRCH, PhD, CHES, Professor, ([email protected]), Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, 3106 Carol Belk Building, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Address correspondence to: Brandye D. Nobiling, Assistant Professor, ([email protected]), Salisbury University, 1100 Camden Ave, Salisbury, MD.
Copyright of Journal of School Health is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Source: Journal of School Health, 2011 Sep; 81(9)
Item Number: 2011249276
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