Active transport is a convenient way to incorporate physical activity in adolescents’ daily life. The present study aimed to investigate which psychosocial and environmental factors are associated with walking, cycling, public transport (train, tram, bus, metro) and passive transport (car, motorcycle, moped) over short distances (maximum eight kilometres) among older adolescents (17–18 years), to school and to other destinations.

562 older adolescents completed an online questionnaire assessing socio-demographic variables, psychosocial variables, environmental variables and transport to school/other destinations. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models were performed.

More social modelling and a higher residential density were positively associated with walking to school and walking to other destinations, respectively. Regarding cycling, higher self-efficacy and a higher social norm were positively associated with cycling to school and to other destinations. Regarding public transport, a higher social norm, more social modelling of siblings and/or friends, more social support and a higher land use mix access were positively related to public transport to school and to other destinations, whereas a greater distance to school only related positively to public transport to school. Regarding passive transport, more social support and more perceived benefits were positively associated with passive transport to school and to other destinations. Perceiving less walking and cycling facilities at school was positively related to passive transport to school only, and more social modelling was positively related to passive transport to other destinations.

Overall, psychosocial variables seemed to be more important than environmental variables across the four transport modes. Social norm, social modelling and social support were the most consistent psychosocial factors which indicates that it is important to target both older adolescents and their social environment in interventions promoting active transport. Walking or cycling together with siblings or friends has the potential to increase social norm, social modelling and social support towards active transport.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0147128
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016

    Research areas

  • Psychosocial and environmental correlates of walking, cycling, public transport and passive transport to various destinations in Flemish older adolescents

ID: 25337148