Gross Motor Skills and School Day Physical Activity: Mediating Effect of Perceived Competence

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 University of Nevada
  • 2 University of Utah
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between gross motor skills and school day steps per minute, testing various motivational constructs as potential mediators. A convenience sample of 66 sixth-grade children (mean age = 11.6 ± 0.5 years; 30 boys, 36 girls) were recruited from one public “Zoom” school. Gross motor skills were assessed using the Test for Gross Motor Development-3rd Edition. Motivational constructs were assessed using a series of validated questionnaires. Children wore a pedometer for one school week. A bootstrap mediation analysis was employed using gross motor skills scores as the predictor variable and steps per minute as the outcome variable; the motivational constructs consisted of perceived competence, enjoyment, and self-efficacy as potential mediators. The results from a bootstrap mediation analysis yielded a statistically significant average causal mediation effect (ACME) using perceived competence as the mediator (ACME = 0.022, 95% CI [0.001, 0.054], p = .018). Perceived competence mediated 30.8% of the total effect between gross motor skill scores and steps per minute, with the entire model explaining approximately 13.6% of the variance. The relationship between gross motor skills and school day physical activity may be mediated through perceived competence in sixth-grade children.

Fu is with the School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, NV. Burns is with the Dept. of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.

Address author correspondence to Ryan D. Burns at ryan.d.burns@utah.edu.
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