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Conduct problems in childhood are associated with the way in which children engage in daily activities. Research, to date, on conduct problems in relation to time use has primarily focused on school aged children and their participation in discrete activities such as watching TV and sport. The purpose of the present study is to determine if children at risk of developing conduct problems have different activity patterns compared to those not at risk. Specifically aspects of time use which concern involvement in activities that provide physical exertion, structure, rest and social engagement were examined. Data for this investigation were drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (Wave 1) and focused on 4936 children aged 4–5 years. Findings indicate that children at risk of developing conduct problems spend significantly more time in: physical activities such as ‘‘riding a bike’’, and ‘‘in the company of adults only’’ than children not at risk of developing conduct problems but less time ‘‘with peers under adult supervision’’. Gender differences were also found in the same activities with boys participating in more ‘‘bike riding’’ and activities ‘‘without peers under adult supervision’’ than girls. Young children generally participated in more physical activities and spend more time ‘‘with peers while supervised by adults’’ on weekend days, and more time in ‘‘structured activities’’ and ‘‘in the company of adults only’’ on weekdays. These findings are discussed in respect of the potentially risky nature of physical activity choice and the contribution of adult supervision in the context of peer group participation for children at risk of developing conduct problems.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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