Nicholas L. Holt

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Publications (67)59.76 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Minimizing sedentary behavior, in particular screen-based sedentary behavior, during the early years is important for healthy growth and development. Consequently, new Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years (aged 0-4 years) were recently released. Researchers are unclear what messages should supplement the guidelines when disseminating them to parents and when using the guidelines in behaviour-change interventions to increase adoption. The objective of this study was to qualitatively examine parents' perceptions of the new Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 05/2014; 11(1):65. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    Nicholas L. Holt, Jay Scherer, Jordan Koch
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The purpose of this study was to examine issues surrounding the provision of sport opportunities to young men from inner-city areas of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. More specifically, the research question was: What are the benefits, constraints, and opportunities associated with providing sport programs to young men from inner-city areas?DesignEthnography.Methods Data were collected via 15 months of participant observation and interviews with 12 youth workers who were responsible for the provision of various sport programs to young inner-city dwellers. Analysis was framed around personal, social, and structural issues.ResultsAt a personal level sport provided young men with an outlet for overcoming boredom and a temporary reprieve from the conditions of their daily lives. At a social level sport provided opportunities for relationship building between the youth workers and the young men. However, enduring structural constraints associated with economic and social inequality and the lack of a coordinated approach to the delivery of services restricted the influence that sport could have in the lives of the young men.Conclusion This study provided some precise understandings of the benefits, constraints, and opportunities associated with providing sport programs to members of specific populations in certain inner-city circumstances. Findings, therefore, have the potential to inform public health policy concerning the use of sport-for-development programming in such contexts.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 07/2013; 14(4):538–548.
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine meanings of play among children. Thirty-eight students aged 7–9 years from a suburban public school in Western Canada participated in focus groups. Data analysis revealed participants saw almost anything as an opportunity for play and would play almost anywhere with anyone. However, they perceived parents to have somewhat different views regarding play. The children frequently described adults as restricting play opportunities. This study therefore revealed that children had a relatively unrestrained view of play and these findings may be useful for helping to ensure that adults facilitate, rather than hinder, children’s play.
    Childhood 05/2013; 20(2):185-199. · 1.10 Impact Factor
  • Journal of nutrition education and behavior. 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of appraisal, coping, and coping effectiveness in sport. Ten players from a collegiate female volleyball team were interviewed on two occasions, first in the week before a provincial final playoff tournament and in the week following the tournament. Data were transcribed verbatim and subjected to content and idiographic analyses. Athletes generally did not predict or anticipate the stressors they actually experienced during the tournament. Subjective appraisals of effective coping were associated with consistency between proactive and actual coping attempts. Reported effective coping was associated with the attainment of personal performance goals and use of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional coping strategies in the absence of behavioral avoidance. Reported ineffective and partially effective coping was associated with not attaining personal performance goals, and the use of cognitive coping strategies with behavioral avoidance. Finally, older, more experienced athletes reported they coped better than younger, less experienced athletes during the tournament.
    Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 01/2013; 78(2):117-132.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The purposes of this study were to (a) explore experiences of adversity and (b) to examine perceptions of growth following adversity among elite female athletes.Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five elite female athletes (ages 18–23 years) who competed internationally in track and field, swimming, long-distance running, and basketball. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological approach (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009).ResultsIncidents of performance slumps, coach conflicts, bullying, eating disorders, sexual abuse, and injuries were reported. The shared ‘essential’ features of participants’ experiences of adversity were isolation/withdrawal, emotional disruption, questioning identity as an athlete, and understanding experiences within a context of perceived expectations. It appeared that as participants sought and found meaning in their experiences, they identified opportunities for growth associated with social support and also as they realized the role of sport in their lives. Aspects of growth include realizing strength, gaining perspective of their problems, and gaining a desire to help others. Athletes’ experiences with adversity were seen as part of an ongoing journey through elite sport.Conclusions Athletes’ experiences of adversity may have initiated a process of questioning their identities and searching for meaning in their experiences. Findings highlighted the complexity associated with social support and athletes’ growth following adversity. Growth following adversity appears to be a valuable area of research among elite athletes.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 01/2013; 14(1):28–36.
  • Camilla J. Knight, Nicholas L. Holt
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The overall purpose of this study was to develop a grounded theory of optimal parental involvement in youth tennis. Design A Straussian grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1998; Corbin & Strauss, 2008) was used. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with 90 youth tennis players, ex-youth players, parents, and coaches from the United Kingdom. Data were analyzed through a process of open and axial coding, and theoretical integration. Through this process data were broken down into smaller units (concepts), relationships between concepts were identified, and a substantive grounded theory was developed. Results The grounded theory of optimal parental involvement in tennis was built around the core category of ‘understanding and enhancing your child’s tennis journey.’ The core category was underpinned by three categories: (a) Share and communicate goals, which referred to the need for parents and children to have the same aims for the child’s tennis involvement; (b) develop an understanding emotional climate, which accounted for the need for parents to continually seek to foster an environment in which children perceived parents understand their experience, and; (c) engage in enhancing parenting practices at competitions, which denoted the specific behaviors parents should display in relation to competitive tennis. Conclusion The theory predicts that consistency between goals, emotional climate, and parenting practices will optimize parenting in youth tennis.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 01/2013;
  • Camilla J Knight, Nicholas L Holt
    Sport Psychologist 01/2013; 27:281-291. · 1.02 Impact Factor
  • Camilla J. Knight, Nicholas L. Holt
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    ABSTRACT: The purposes of this study were to (a) explore the factors that influence parents’ experiences of watching their children compete at junior tennis tournaments and (b) identify suggestions for enhancing their experiences. Interviews were conducted with 40 parents of junior players in Western Australia. Parents’ experiences at tournaments appeared to be primarily influenced by four factors: Their child’s performance and behavior, sportspersonship, parent–parent interactions, and the tournament context. Participants also provided three recommendations to enhance their experiences: Educate and support players, educate and support parents, and organizational changes. The identification of these factors, along with participants’ suggested changes, has a number of implications for parent education initiatives that may enhance parenting in junior tennis in the future. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
    Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. 01/2013; 2(3):173.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: At least two million Canadian children meet established criteria for weight management. Due to the adverse health consequences of obesity, most pediatric weight management research has examined the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions to improve lifestyle behaviors, reduce co-morbidities, and enable weight management. However, little information is available on families' decisions to initiate, continue, and terminate weight management care. This is an important knowledge gap since a substantial number of families fail to initiate care after being referred for weight management while many families who initiate care discontinue it after a brief period of time. This research aims to understand the interplay between individual, family, environmental, and systemic factors that influence families' decisions regarding the management of pediatric obesity. METHODS: Individual interviews will be conducted with children and youth with obesity (n = 100) and their parents (n = 100) for a total number of 200 interviews with 100 families. Families will be recruited from four Canadian multi-disciplinary pediatric weight management centers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Montreal. Participants will be purposefully-sampled into the following groups: (i) Non-Initiators (5 families/site): referred for weight management within the past 6 months and did not follow-up the referral; (ii) Initiators (10 families/site): referred for weight management within the past 6 months and did follow-up the referral with at least one clinic appointment; and (iii) Continuers (10 families/site): participated in a formal weight management intervention within the past 12 months and did continue with follow-up care for at least 6 months. Interviews will be digitally recorded and analyzed using an ecological framework, which will enable a multi-level evaluation of proximal and distal factors that underlie families' decisions regarding initiation, continuation, and termination of care. Demographic and anthropometric/clinical data will also be collected. DISCUSSION: A better understanding of family involvement in pediatric weight management care will help to improve existing health services in this area. Study data will be used in future research to develop a validated survey that clinicians working in pediatric obesity management can use to understand and enhance their own health services delivery.
    BMC Health Services Research 12/2012; 12(1):486. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The overall purpose of this two-part study was to examine factors that influenced fatigue status in university level swimmers. Participants were 25 swimmers (14 male, 11 female) from one university swim team. A mixed methods approach was used. Quantitative data were collected using an orthostatic heart rate test and self-report questionnaire at multiple time points throughout a competitive season. Qualitative data were collected via focus groups conducted at the end of the season. Analysis of the quantitative data indicated high levels of accumulated physiological and psychological fatigue that improved with increased recovery. Specifically, heart rate indices, form, feeling, and energy level improved during taper periods and worsened during and immediately after intensive training blocks. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed that one factor (flexible structure of training programme) had a positive influence on athletes' fatigue while two factors (teammate expectations and balancing school, work, and sleep) had a negative influence on athletes' fatigue.
    Journal of Sports Sciences 11/2012; · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is an urgent need to develop and evaluate weight management interventions to address childhood obesity. Recent research suggests that interventions designed for parents exclusively, which have been named parents as agents of change (PAC) approaches, have yielded positive outcomes for managing pediatric obesity. To date, no research has combined a PAC intervention approach with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to examine whether these combined elements enhance intervention effectiveness. This paper describes the protocol our team is using to examine two PAC-based interventions for pediatric weight management. We hypothesize that children with obesity whose parents complete a CBT-based PAC intervention will achieve greater reductions in adiposity and improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors, lifestyle behaviours, and psychosocial outcomes than children whose parents complete a psycho-education-based PAC intervention (PEP). This study is a pragmatic, two-armed, parallel, single-blinded, superiority, randomized clinical trial. The primary objective is to examine the differential effects of a CBT-based PAC vs PEP-based PAC intervention on children's BMI z-score (primary outcome). Secondary objectives are to assess intervention-mediated changes in cardiometabolic, lifestyle, and psychosocial variables in children and parents. Both interventions are similar in frequency of contact, session duration, group facilitation, lifestyle behaviour goals, and educational content. However, the interventions differ insofar as the CBT-based intervention incorporates theory-based concepts to help parents link their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours; these cognitive activities are enabled by group leaders who possess formal training in CBT. Mothers and fathers of children (8-12 years of age; BMI ≥85th percentile) are eligible to participate if they are proficient in English (written and spoken) and agree for at least one parent to attend group-based sessions on a weekly basis. Anthropometry, cardiometabolic risk factors, lifestyle behaviours, and psychosocial health of children and parents are assessed at pre-intervention, post-intervention, 6-, and 12-months follow-up. This study is designed to extend findings from earlier efficacy studies and provide data on the effect of a CBT-based PAC intervention for managing pediatric obesity in a real-world, outpatient clinical setting. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01267097.
    BMC Pediatrics 08/2012; 12:114. · 1.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity and associated health risks disproportionately affect Aboriginal (First Nations) children in Canada. The purpose of this research study was to elicit First Nations children's perceptions of food, activity, and health to inform a community-based obesity prevention strategy. Fifteen 4th- and 5th-Grade students participated in one of three focus group interviews that utilized drawing and pile-sorting activities. We used an ecological lens to structure our findings. Analyses revealed that a variety of interdependent sociocultural factors influenced children's perceptions. Embedded within a cultural/traditional worldview, children indicated a preference for foods and activities from both contemporary Western and traditional cultures, highlighted family members as their main sources of health information, and described information gaps in their health education. Informed by children's perspectives, these findings offer guidance for developing an obesity prevention strategy for First Nations children in this community.
    Qualitative Health Research 07/2012; 22(7):986-96. · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To review the recent literature (over the past 18 months) regarding psychosocial challenges and clinical concerns among adolescent athletes, and to address the advances made in understanding adolescent athletes' coping processes. Coping research has moved from identifying discrete stressors and coping strategies to examining the processes of coping over time. Parents and coaches play an important role in young athletes' sport experiences and athletes' use and development of coping strategies. In terms of clinical concerns, findings regarding the prevalence of disordered eating have been equivocal. However, disordered eating may be of greater concern among athletes participating in 'leanness' sports. Sport participation may contribute to increased alcohol consumption among adolescent athletes but decreased use of drugs and smoking cigarettes, while steroid use appears to be relatively rare compared with athletes' use of alcohol and cigarettes. The reviewed studies have implications for future research by identifying opportunities for intervention and education regarding clinical and nonclinical psychosocial challenges. Researchers have emphasized the importance of athletes' social context and relationships in coping with psychosocial challenges in sport. One concern is that adolescent athletes' disordered eating and substance use may reflect maladaptive coping. Experimental and intervention research is limited; however, incorporating members of athletes' social network into future research and interventions may be a practical avenue to achieving positive outcomes among adolescent athletes.
    Current opinion in psychiatry 05/2012; 25(4):293-300. · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: School-based recreational opportunities for youth from low-income inner-city neighbourhoods are often lacking. School programs represent an ideal location for promoting youth development in low-income areas because they can provide safe, supervised, and structured activities. Such activities should include not only physical education (PE) programs, but other extra-curricular activities such as intramural sports and school sport teams. Because we were interested in how these programs were associated with youth development, we used the concept of positive youth development (PYD) to guide this study.Purpose: This case study examined school staff members’ and children's perceptions of school PE, intramural sports, and sport teams with a view to establish factors that facilitated or impeded PYD.Method: Data were collected via individual interviews with eight teachers and 59 children from an inner-city school that had a mission to promote positive behaviors consistent with PYD. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to a categorical aggregation analysis procedure.Results: Findings showed factors that facilitated or impeded PYD varied across different contexts. In PE, the importance of a specialist PE teacher and establishing clear boundaries during lessons while providing children with perceptions of choice were important. Children enjoyed intramural sports, but there were few attempts to create an appropriate developmental atmosphere during these sessions. In fact, intramural sports were associated with negative student interactions. Coaches of the sport teams used techniques to promote social interactions and respect. Most notable student outcomes associated with PYD related to fostering empathy and social connections.Conclusion: These findings showed differences in contextual factors across the PE/sport programs that helped promote or impeded PYD. These differences revealed some practical suggestions for promoting PYD, which include focusing on the developmental orientation of PE classes, the fun of intramurals, and the ‘life skills’ focus of the sport teams. Furthermore, we suggest an integrated, school-wide approach is required to help promote PYD.
    Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy 01/2012; 17(1):97-113. · 0.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A clear income gradient exists for the sport and physical activity (PA) participation of Canadian children. Governments in Canada recently introduced tax credits to alleviate the financial burden associated with registering a child in organized physical activity (including sport). The majority of these credits, including the Children's Fitness Tax Credit, are non-refundable (i.e., reduces the amount of income tax a person pays). Such credits are useful only for individuals who incur a certain level of tax liability. Thus, low-income families who may pay little or no income tax will not benefit from the presence of non-refundable tax credits. In this commentary, we argue that the non-refundable tax credit is inherently inequitable for promoting PA. We suggest that a combination of refundable tax credits and subsidized programming for low-income children would be more equitable than the current approach of the Canadian government and several provinces that are expending approximately $200 million to support these credits.
    Canadian journal of public health. Revue canadienne de santé publique 01/2012; 103(3):175-7. · 1.02 Impact Factor
  • Katherine A. Tamminen, Nicholas L. Holt
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The purpose of this study was to develop a grounded theory of the ways adolescent athletes learned about coping in sport. We subsequently came to focus on the roles of parents and coaches within this process.Method Interviews were conducted with 17 athletes (8 females, 9 males, Mage = 15.6 years), 10 parents (6 mothers, 4 fathers), and 7 male coaches. Grounded theory methodology (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) was used.ResultsLearning about coping was an experiential process consisting of the athletes’ sport experiences and learning through trial and error, reflective practice, and coping outcomes (consistent performance, independence in coping, and persistence in coping). Learning was facilitated by athletes being exposed to multiple situations and reflecting on their coping efforts. Parents and coaches helped athletes learn about coping by creating a supportive context for learning (listening and monitoring their own reactions, establishing trust and respect, reading the athlete, and fostering independence). Parents and coaches also used specific strategies to help athletes learn about coping, including questioning and reminding, providing perspective, sharing experiences, dosing stress experiences, initiating informal conversations, creating learning opportunities, and direct instruction.Conclusions Adolescent athletes must gain personal experience in dealing with stressors in order to learn how to cope. Parents and coaches represent key sources of influence within the process of learning about coping.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 01/2012; 13(1):69–79.
  • Sport Psychologist 01/2012; 26:135-156. · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To explore the understanding of collaboration between clinicians working in pediatric weight management and parents of overweight children. Clinicians (n=12) and parents (n=8) seeking pediatric weight management care participated in semi-structured focus groups or individual interviews. A family-centered, collaborative model of care was used to frame the data and develop codes/themes for analysis. Member checking and external reviews were conducted to verify emergent themes. Analyses revealed that collaboration between clinicians and parents included a positive therapeutic relationship, negotiation of health care delivery, and regular monitoring and evaluation. These elements are consistent with a philosophy of family-centered care, emphasize the importance of tailoring health services to families' needs, respect parents as experts, and identify clinician responsiveness as pivotal to partnerships with families. Parents described dissatisfaction with care and a lower likelihood of seeking future care when clinicians deviated from these principles. Results suggest that pediatric weight management should be family-centered to give parents the opportunity to actively engage in health services and negotiate their family's care. Clinicians may be able to optimize their interactions with families seeking pediatric weight management care by taking a family-centered approach that is individualized and responsive to families' needs.
    Patient Education and Counseling 09/2011; 87(1):10-7. · 2.60 Impact Factor
  • Marianne I. Clark, John C. Spence, Nicholas L. Holt
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to understand how adolescent girls experience and make meaning of the ways in which they are active within their daily lives. Using an interpretive description methodology, we conducted two rounds of interviews with eight 6th grade girls and asked them to share their stories, thoughts and feelings about times when they were active. Two themes best captured their stories: physical activity lets girl’s shine and taking care of myself, inside and out. Dominant societal discourses around health and appearance emerged in the construction and expression of girls’ experiences and were woven through each of these themes. Consistent with previous research, health was largely defined as a narrowly defined bodily aesthetic. However, in girls’ experiential accounts of actually being active, discourses of self-expression and creativity emerged. Unstructured play that occurred in girls’ free time and dance appeared as important forums, which allowed girls to engage in activities they enjoyed and explore their physicality.
    Qualitative Research in Sport. 07/2011; Exercise and Health(Vol. 3):193-210.