physical activity; autism spectrum disorder; autism; weekend; weekday; child


The ‘Structured Days Hypothesis’ suggests during less-structured periods, such as summer months or weekend days, children’s physical activity (PA) is lower and thus, may be detrimental to health. Exploring this hypothesis in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is important, given they are less active and tend to prefer structure and routine compared to neurotypical peers. Weekend days are similar to summer days since both have reduced structure in comparison to the consistent weekday routine. The purpose of this review was to examine differences in PA levels of children with ASD during weekend days versus weekdays. Three databases (PubMed, APA PsycInfo, and ERIC) found 604 studies for screening. Seven studies met inclusion criteria (e.g., children 5-13 years, ASD diagnosis, weekend day and weekday PA outcomes). Three of the seven studies reported PA was greater on weekdays, two reported that PA was greater on weekend days, and two reported no differences. Findings provide researchers with insight into potential differences in PA of children with ASD during weekdays versus weekend days. Further studies are needed that purposefully measure PA during different environments to help inform PA interventions targeting children with ASD.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Brazendale, Keith


College of Health Professions and Sciences


Department of Health Sciences

Thesis Discipline

Health Sciences



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus Access

5 years

Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus



Rights Statement

In Copyright