Children's Attitudes Toward Physical Activity: A Longitudinal Analysis

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Washington
  • 2 University of British Columbia
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Attitudes toward six subdomains of physical activity were assessed across Grades 4 to 6 for a multiple longitudinal sample consisting of 58 boys and 56 girls. The children's attitudes toward physical activity (CATPA) were generally positive for both sexes; and consistent with previous research, the girls showed more favorable attitudes toward the aesthetic subdomain than the boys. However, the boys evidenced significantly more positive attitudes toward physical activity as the pursuit of vertigo and as catharsis. Neither the among-grade comparisons nor sex-by-grade comparisons attained statistical significance, indicating stability in group attitude scores. However, correlational analyses revealed the lack of stability of CATPA within individuals across the grades studied. Factor analysis provided further evidence negating the assumption of CATPA as an enduring behavioral disposition. The findings are discussed in relation to previous cross-sectional studies, and implications are derived for future research.

Appreciation is extended to Joan K. Cunningham for assistance in data collection and to Donald L. Mickey, Director of Research, Bellevue School System, for cooperation throughout the study. Reprint requests should be sent to Dr. Frank L. Smoll, Department of Kinesiology, DX-10, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.

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