Clumsiness in Adolescence: Educational, Motor, and Social Outcomes of Motor Delay Detected at 5 Years

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Marja H. Cantell University of Lancaster

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Mary M. Smyth University of Lancaster

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Timo P. Ahonen University of Jyväskylä

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This paper reports the follow-up at age 15 of a group of children who were diagnosed at age 5 as having delayed motor development. The group of children who were clumsy and the control group still differed in motor performance 10 years later: 46% of the members of the early motor delay group were classified as different from the control group on motor and perceptual tasks. The remainder made up an intermediate group that could not be clearly distinguished from the other groups. Adolescents with stable motor problems had fewer social hobbies and pastimes and had lower academic ambitions for their future than the controls, although the lower academic ambitions also reflect their lower academic achievements. The adolescents who were clumsy believed they were less physically and scholastically competent than the controls. However, they did not have poor opinions of their social acceptance or self-worth. The intermediate group, although they showed motor delay at age 5, had good school performance and high ambitions and engaged in social sports at age 15.

Marja H. Cantell and Mary M. Smyth are with the Department of Psychology, University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YF, U.K. Timo P. Ahonen is with the Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, 40351 Jyväskylä, Finland.

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