Children’s Perceptions of Physical Activity for Adults: Competence and Appropriateness

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Bonnie Behlendorf
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Priscilla G. MacRae
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Carolyn Vos Strache
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether children’s perceptions of competence and appropriateness of physical activity for adults are affected by age, gender, and type of physical activity in which the adults participate. Participants were 70 children, mean age 9.5. An interview using 18 photographs of young, middle-aged, and older women and men participating in three physical activities was employed to assess the children’s perceptions. A 3 × 2 × 3 ANOVA for perceived competence indicated that main effects for age and activity type were significant, accounting for 61% and 8% of the variance, respectively. An ANOVA on perceived appropriateness also revealed that age and activity type were significant, accounting for 46% and 26% of the variance. Gender did not show a significant main effect for competence or appropriateness, accounting for 0% and 1% of the variance. These results indicate that age affects children’s perceptions of competence and appropriateness of adults engaged in physical activity.

The authors are with the Department of Sports Medicine at Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA 90263.

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