Table of Contents
ISRN Obesity
Volume 2014, Article ID 567523, 9 pages
Research Article

Role of Suppressor Variables in Primary Prevention Obesity Research: Examples from Two Predictive Models

Department of Health Science , University of Alabama, Russell Hall 472, P.O. Box 870311, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0311, USA

Received 16 September 2013; Accepted 17 December 2013; Published 30 January 2014

Academic Editors: A. Krettek and M. C. Wang

Copyright © 2014 Adam P. Knowlden. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pediatric obesity is a pertinent public health challenge. Child physical activity and screen time behaviors enacted within the context of the family and home environment are important determinants of pediatric obesity. The purpose of this study was to operationalize five, maternal-facilitated, social cognitive theory constructs for predicting physical activity and screen time behaviors in children. A secondary purpose was to elucidate the function of suppressor variables in the design and implementation of family- and home-based interventions seeking to prevent pediatric obesity. Instrumentation included face and content validity of the measurement tool by a panel of experts, test-retest reliability of the theoretical constructs, and predictive validity of the constructs through structural equation modeling. Physical activity and screen time were modeled separately according to the five selected social cognitive theory constructs. Data were collected from 224 mothers with children between four and six years of age. Specification indices indicated satisfactory fit for the final physical activity and screen time models. Through a series of four procedures, the structural models identified emotional coping and expectations as suppressor variables for self-efficacy. Suppressor variables can complement program design recommendations by providing a suggested ordering to construct integration within an intervention.