Volume 6 – 2013-14

A review of the relationship between physical activity and motor proficiency in children


This review examined the associations of physical activity (PA) and motor proficiency (MP) in children. The 14 selected studies contained a variety of motor ability tests and the PA measured with the use of accelerometers, pedometers and questionnaires.  These studies provided various ways of estimation of PA and MP. Gender differences appeared in many studies for MP and PA but in general findings suggest that high time spent in sedentary behavior was a predictor of low motor coordination and MP is a significant predictor of PA in children. Finally are presented the limitations of the studies with the purpose to provide more valid and accurate measures of PA and MP in the future.

Test-retest reliability of the “table tennis specific battery test” in competitive level young players


The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability of the Table Tennis Specific Battery Test (TTSBT) in young table tennis players. Sixteen (n=16) boys and fourteen (n=14) girls aged 13.3±0.9yrs performed the battery test twice. The present study, based on the competitive performance level of the players, assessed 4 groups (8 tests) of the TTSBT regarding the playing target skills (Reaction Speed, Displacement Speed, Skill Speed, Ocular-Manual coordination). The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) was applied to estimate the coefficients of reliability, while the t-test was used in order to analyze the players’ test-retest performance in the TTSBT. From the results it is shown that the overall reliability of the studied TTSBT was high (a=0.85). However, 3 tests were excluded from the testing battery due to their low reliability. In conclusion, the TTSBT is generally a reliable test battery which focuses on the evaluation of the technical skills and the table tennis performance progress of the young players.

A new coding system: The Neuropsychomotor Video Analysis of parent and child interaction (NVA)


The study investigated the validity of a Neuropsychomotor Video Analysis of parent and child interaction (NVA), a new observational coding system for parent-child interactions. 73 mother-infant interactions were video-recorded and codified with NVA and with Care-Index to verify the instrument validity. Convergent validity was supported by significantly positive correlations between the NVA and the Care-Index categories. Moreover, analysis indicated correlations between NVA mother’s codes and NVA infant’s codes. These results suggest that the NVA has the potential to be a valuable rating system for assessing parent–child relationships.

An investigation of age and gender differences in preschool children’s specific motor skills


The present study aimed to assess the effect of age and gender on preschool children’s specific motor skills. Three hundred children (154 boys and 146 girls) aged 60 to 71 months, were divided into two age subgroups (60-65 and 66-71 months) and were examined in three motor tasks: bead threading, shape copying and postural stability, assessing visual motor, graphomotor and balance skills respectively.Results showed a significant effect of age in the graphomotor task, with older children performing better than younger ones. As regard gender, girls scored significantly better than boys on both visual motor and graphomotor tasks, while boys outperformed girls on the balance task. The findings are discussed on the basis of biological (different rates of brain maturation and gender differences in brain structure and function) and environmental (opportunities and encouragement) factors that influence motor behavior.

The effect of a music/ movement program on preschooler’s motor rhythmic ability


The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of a music/movement program on the motor rhythmic ability of 70 children, aged 48-72 months (59.67+6.38) randomly assigned to experimental (EG, n=36) and control group (CG, n= 34). The EG participated in a 20-week music/movement program, while the CG did not follow any organized physical activity. Before and after the program children’s rhythmic ability was measured using the subtest “Jump on the rhythm” of the Democritus-Psychomotor Assessment Tool for Preschool Children (PAT-PRE). According to the results of the  two-way ANCOVA that was implemented, both program and gender had a statistically significant effect on children’s scores (F1,65= 222.24, p< .001, η2= .84 and F1,65= 6.60, p < .05, η2= .09 respectively) after controlling for the effect of the pre-test, while there was not a significant effect of those factors’ interaction. The children of the EG had significantly higher scores than those of the CG, while girls outperformed boys in both groups. However, effect size value of gender was moderate; consequently, these differences were not of practical importance. The current findings provide support for the beneficial effect of a developmentally appropriate music/movement program on rhythmic ability of preschool aged children.

Self-esteem and physical self-concept in adolescents on an emergency psychiatric unit


Self-esteem is a widely examined concept in the area of psychiatric disorders, less attention was given to the physical self-concept, till now. The purpose of this study was to evaluate self-esteem and the physical self-concept in adolescents with psychiatric disorders. The scores the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) of adolescents on an urgent psychiatric unit (N = 208) were compared with the results of a matched group of non-clinical adolescents (N = 208) by means of MANOVA’s. The Physical Self-Description Questionnaire is a reliable instrument as well in the clinical as in the non-clinical group.  Self-esteem and Physical self-concept were lower in the clinical than in the non-clinical group. Girls (N = 107) in general scored lower than boys (N = 101) in both groups. The physical self-concept and the underlying specific motor competences seem to be excellent aspects to distinguish between different diagnostic categories. But they also suggest that physical activity could be of importance for mental health.

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