UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Social-Ecological Correlates of Children’s Independent Mobility: A Systematic Review Riazi, Negin A.; Wunderlich, Kelly; Yun, Lira; Paterson, Derek C.; Faulkner, Guy E. J., 1970-


Children’s independent mobility (IM) is associated with a range of benefits and understanding the factors that influence IM can support creation of effective interventions. The review (Prospero CRD42016042174) systematically summarized the available literature for social-ecological correlates of children’s IM in school-aged children and youth (aged 5–17 years). In this case, 53 studies were included and evaluated six individual, 15 interpersonal, 12 social environment, and 19 built environment- level variables. Most studies originated from Australia (n = 15) and Canada (n = 8) with most published in 2011 or later (n = 48). Variables that were consistently (positively and/or negatively) associated with children’s IM were age, ethnicity/race, child’s perceived competence, ownership of a house/access to house keys, having siblings, parents’ attitude toward IM and perception of child’s confidence, children’s interest in environment and activities, parents’ concern around traffic, housing/residential density, length of residency in one’s home, distance to destinations, and proximity to green space. Given the inter-related social-ecological correlates identified, intervention to promote children’s IM will likely need a multi-level and multi-sectoral approach. However, focus areas of building children’s skills and confidence, helping parents gain confidence in their children’s abilities, assuaging parental traffic concerns, and building environments with shorter distances to destinations of interest for children should be prioritized.

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