This study was conducted to determine the influence of a motor skill intervention (MSI) program on the perceived competence and social acceptance of African American preschoolers who are at risk of school failure/developmental delay. Two groups of preschoolers enrolled in a compensatory prekindergarten program participated in a 12-week intervention. The motor skill intervention (MSI) group received an MSI program, while the control group (C) received the regular prekindergarten program. All children completed Harter’s Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance prior to and following the 12-week program. The results indicated that all children, regardless of group, reported high perceived physical and cognitive competence and high perceived maternal and peer acceptance. Additionally, the MSI group reported significantly higher perceived physical competence scores after receiving the MSI program. The MSI group also reported higher perceived physical competence than the C group on postintervention scores. No gender differences were found. It was concluded that perceived competence and social acceptance were enhanced by participation in an MSI program.
The authors are with the Department of Health and Human Performance, College of Education, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5331.