Existing literature shows that there is an inverse association between socioeconomic position and screen time among adolescents. What is less known is the mechanism behind these differences. The study aimed to explore individual, interpersonal and neighborhood environmental correlates of total screen time (TST) among adolescents and to assess their mediating role in the association between parental education and TST.
A cross-sectional study including 706 adolescents (mean age of 13.6 (SD = 0.3)) was used to collect data at schools through an online questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were used to explore factors associated with TST. Mediation analyses were conducted to assess whether these factors mediated the association between parental education and TST.
Multiple linear regression analyses, adjusted for gender and age, showed that parental modelling of TV and movie streaming, TV/movie streaming during dinner and access to screens were positively related to TST. Self-efficacy towards limiting TV and movie streaming, self-efficacy towards limiting computer/electronic game use, and the perceived opportunities for physical activity in the neighborhood were inversely related to total screen time. All of these factors except self-efficacy towards limiting TV and movie streaming mediated the association between parental education and TST.
The study identified several modifiable factors at the individual, interpersonal and neighborhood environmental levels that can be targeted in interventions aimed at decreasing screen time among youth in general and among those with a low socioeconomic position in particular.
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