The new frontier: a social ecological exploration of factors impacting on parental support for the active play of young children within the micro-environment of the family home

PhD Thesis


Brown, Alice. 2012. The new frontier: a social ecological exploration of factors impacting on parental support for the active play of young children within the micro-environment of the family home. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

The new frontier: a social ecological exploration of factors impacting on parental support for the active play of young children within the micro-environment of the family home

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorBrown, Alice
SupervisorDanaher, Patrick
Cleaver, David
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages404
Year2012
Abstract

Raising children is a collective undertaking, one that is integrally linked to multiple places and networks of people, yet families and their domestic spaces are still at the heart of this endeavour. They are understood to be a critical leverage point for the establishment of early health behaviours and values. Currently, there is a paucity of qualitative research that investigates individuals within the domestic space of the family home. Forging a new path in terms of getting ‘inside’ the problem, this research was motivated to explore active play within this environment and the pervasive influence that multiple factors exert on parental practices, understandings and values.
Intrinsic and instrumental case study provided an opportunity to gain a contextual understanding of the idiosyncratic experiences and motivations of three families. The conceptualisation of the micro-environment and development of a Parental and Micro-Environmental Model inspired by a social ecological framework enabled research to be directed at considering the contextual nuances that operate on and are embedded in the lives of individuals and give meaning to their thoughts and actions.

Findings expand on current understandings about the idiosyncratic nature of parents and families and highlight the pervasiveness of factors that impact on their efforts to support the active play experiences of young children. The study also confirmed that a range of factors that sit both inside and outside the micro-environment of the family home can skew determinants into becoming either a barrier or an enabler, depending on context.

We can only truly understand individuals within these places by appreciating their context located within multiple environments and the wider social milieu. Such research needs to be underscored by valuing the contextual nuances that exist in these spaces. Exploring phenomena of health and their effect on individuals, environments and organisations are best explored through multiple fields and disciplines in order to “better manage multiple sources of environmental change and to collaborate effectively toward reducing their negative impacts on population health and societal cohesion” (Stokols, Misra, Runnerstrom, & Hipp, 2009, p. 181). Future research endeavours should seek to better understand the experiences and perspectives of children and parents in this legitimate space. A space where much research still needs to be done in order to advance our understandings, yet has the potential of being an untapped resource that in many respects could still be defined as the ‘New Frontier’.

Keywordsactive play; social ecological; parents; children
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390102. Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
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