Perceived Physical Competence and Actual Motor Skill Competence of African American Preschool Children

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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This study examined the relationship between perceived physical competence and actual motor skill competence in African American preschool children at risk of school failure and/or developmental delay (N = 59). A secondary purpose was to determine gender differences and the accuracy of self-perceptions. All children completed a perceived physical competence subscale (Harter & Pike, 1984). Actual motor skill competence was measured by Ulrich’s (1985) Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD), resulting in three scores (locomotor, object-control, and TGMD-Total). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that locomotor competence (p = .99) and gender (p = .81) did not predict perceived physical competence, but object-control competence (p = .01) did significantly predict perceived physical competence. Adding gender to this regression model did not significantly predict perceived physical competence (p = .69). These findings showed that these children are not accurate at perceiving their physical competence.

We wish to acknowledge the support of the Michigan State University Institute for Children, Youth, and Families in the funding of this project. This article was based on a doctoral dissertation conducted by the first author while attending Michigan State University. Appreciation is extended to Crystal Branta, Gail Dummer, John Haubenstricker, Jacqueline Lerner, and Vernal Seefeldt for their contribution to the study. We would also like to thank the teachers and children involved in this project for their invaluable assistance.

Jacqueline D. Goodway is with the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5331. Mary E. Rudisill is with the Department of Health and Human Performance at Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830.

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