We investigated the key beliefs to target in interventions aimed at increasing physical activity (PA) among mothers and fathers of young children. Parents (288 mothers, 292 fathers) completed a Theory of Planned Behaviour belief-based questionire and a 1-week follow-up of PA behaviour. We found that a range of behavioural, normative, and control beliefs were significantly correlated with parents' PA intentions and behaviour, with only a few differences observed in correlations between PA beliefs and intention and behaviour by gender. A range of key beliefs was identified as making independent contributions to parents' PA intentions; however, the behavioural beliefs about improving parenting practices (ߠ= 0.13), interfering with other commitments (ߠ= -0.29); normative beliefs about people I exercise with (ߠ= 0.20); and control beliefs about lack of time (ߠ= -0.24), inconvenience (ߠ= -0.14), lack of motivation (ߠ= -0.34), were revealed as significant independent predictors of actual PA behaviour. Furthermore, we found that a limited amount of parents already hold these beliefs, suggesting that these key beliefs warrant changing and, therefore, are appropriate targets for subsequent intervention. The current study fills an empirical gap in the PA literature by investigating an at-risk group and using a well established theoretical framework to identify key beliefs that guide parents' PA decision-making. Overall, we found support for parents being a unique group who hold distinctive behavioural, normative, and control beliefs toward PA. Attention to these key underlying beliefs will assist intervention work aimed at combating ictivity among this at-risk population.
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