perceived physical competence

Gender differences in perceived movement competence in childhood


Perceived movement competence (MC) has been identified as one of the potential correlates of physical activity (PA) during childhood. The aim of the present study was to examine perceived MC differences between boys and girls. One hundred and forty-two children (65 boys), aged 6-9 years (Μ=7.6, SD=0.9 years) volunteered to participate. Children’s perceived MC was assessed with the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence-Greek version (Venetsanou, Kossyva, Valentini, Afthentopoulou, & Barnett, under review) that comprises of two sub-scales [object control (OC) and locomotor (LOC)]. To investigate perceived MC differences between genders, multivariate analysis of covariance was utilized, using “age” as a covariate. According to the results, “age” did not differentiate children’s perceived MC. Moreover, boys had higher perceived OC than girls (F1,139=7.3, p= .008, η2= .05), whereas there were no gender differences in children’s perceived LOC (p=.88) or MC (p= .11). It seems that, between 6 and 9 years, gender differences in perceived MC are small and are located only in OC, a finding that can be linked to the kind of activities children participate in. Strengthening perceived MC in both genders, through developmentally appropriate movement experiences, positive feedback and equal expectations may contribute to improving their PA levels.

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Self-perception of children participating in different organized physical activity programs


The aim of this study was to investigate potential self-perception differences in children who participate in different organized PA programs. For that purpose, the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children (PSPCSA) was administered to 191 children (87 boys; 104 girls), aged 5 – 9 years (Μ= 7.1, SD= 0.7). Moreover, participants’ anthropometric and demographic data were also gathered. For data analysis, children were classified into three PA groups, according to the PA program they were participating in: (a) team sports, (b) individual sports, and (c) dance. (M)ANCOVA procedures were computed on participants’ scores to examine potential differences among PA groups and genders, using age and BMI as covariates. The results revealed that the participants presented high PSPCSA scores, irrespectively of their gender and PA program they participated in. Children’s participation in PA seems to associate with high positive selfperception scores. Organized PA clubs and children’s coaches should be informed about the important relationship between PA and self- perception in order for this “window of opportunity” of young children’s high positive self-perception level to be optimally exploit for their health’s benefit.

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