UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Roaming the Neighbourhood: Influences of Independent Mobility Parenting Practices and Parental Perceived Environment on Children’s Territorial Range Vlaar, Janae; Brussoni, Mariana; Janssen, Ian; Mâsse, Louise C.


Children’s independent mobility (IM), their freedom to move about their neighbourhood without supervision by adults, has been in steady decline in recent decades. Previous research has linked perceptions of the environment with various measures of IM, but recently concerns have been raised regarding inconsistency in measuring IM. This study used various measures of IM and aimed to address how parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment are associated with children’s territorial range (actual IM), as well as how this relationship is mediated by IM parenting practices (allowed IM). A sample of 105 child/parent dyads from Vancouver, Canada participated in this study. Children (age 10–13) wore a global positioning system (GPS) watch and an accelerometer and completed an activity diary for seven days to assess their territorial range. Parents completed a questionnaire that assessed perceptions of their neighbourhood environment and IM parenting practices—license for IM and roaming allowance. Path analyses were used to address the research aims. License for IM and roaming allowance mediated the relationship between perceived walking facilities, crime safety, and neighbourhood relations and children’s territorial range. Findings suggest that future interventions to increase children’s territorial range should focus primarily on attitude and behaviour change among parents to grant children more freedom.

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