A Study of the Relationship between Physical Awkwardness and Children’s Perceptions of Physical Competence

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Janice L. Causgrove Dunn University of Alberta

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E Jane. Watkinson University of Alberta

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This study explored the relationship between perceived physical competence and physical awkwardness in an effort to gain further understanding of the effects of motor incompetence on behavior. Subjects included 195 children in Grades 3 through 6. Multiple regression analysis found that gender, the importance attached to physical competence, and the interaction between severity of awkwardness and grade were significant predictors of perceptions of physical competence. As expected, males reported higher perceptions of physical competence than females. In addition, the higher the rating that subjects attached to the importance of physical competence, the higher their perceptions of physical competence. Investigation of the interaction between severity of awkwardness and grade revealed that the expected decrease in perceptions of competence associated with increasing severity of awkwardness was present only in third-grade children. It is suggested that older awkward children may utilize strategies to maintain positive perceptions of competence and motivation.

Janice L. Causgrove Dunn and E. Jane Watkinson are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies, P-421 Van Vliet Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2H9.

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