An Open Access article published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review Journal.
The full article is available as a PDF download.


Natalie M. Golaszewski, PhD Twitter
John B. Bartholomew, PhD
Vanessa L. Errisuriz, PhD
Elizabeth Korinek, PhD
Esbelle Jowers, PhD


In this study, we examined students’ fitness, body mass index (BMI), and demographics as predictors of observed time on-task (TOT) behaviors as an indicator of behavioral inattention.


We collected demographics, fitness estimates, and BMI from 2020 fourth-graders (Mean age = 8.6 (SD = 0.5); 47% girls; 49% white) from 28 schools. We measured TOT through momentary time sampling observations. Three-level linear models were conducted to determine whether characteristics predicted differences in TOT. We tested interactions between characteristics and TOT.


Older students exhibited greater percent of TOT (estimate = 2.34, SE = 1.02, df = 919, t = 2.30, p < .05). Additionally, boys spent less percent TOT (estimate = -3.59, SE = 1.03, df = 906, t = -3.49, p < .05). There were no differences by race/ethnicity, SES, BMI, fitness, or time of day and percent TOT. Furthermore, none of the interactions were statistically significant (p > .15).


Girls and older students spent more TOT. These findings are of interest to educators and psychologists working on the development of research-based guidelines aimed to support elementary students’ engagement in the classroom.

Source: Health Behavior and Policy Review, Volume 8, Number 2, March 2021, pp. 159-167(9)
Publisher: Paris Scholar Publishing Ltd.