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Herbert W. Marsh and Naida D. Peart

The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the differential effects of a competitive and a cooperative fitness program for high school girls on physical fitness and on multidimensional self-concepts. Consistent with the content specificity of self-concept, physical fitness was significantly correlated with self-concept of physical ability (r=.45) but not with any of the other 10 self-concept scales (all r<.ll). Both the competitive and cooperative programs significantly enhanced physical fitness compared to a randomly assigned control group; but the cooperative program also enhanced physical ability self-concept and, to a lesser extent, physical appearance self-concept whereas the competitive program lowered them. The intervention had no significant effects on the other self-concept scales. The results of the study demonstrate the benefits of cooperatively oriented physical fitness programs for girls and the content specificity of multiple dimensions of self-concept.

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Susan A. Jackson and Herbert W. Marsh

The Flow State Scale (FSS) is a new measure of flow in sport and physical activity settings. The nine FSS scales of the 36-item instrument represent the dimensions of flow discussed by Csikszentmihalyi (1990, 1993), and each scale is measured by four items. Development of items was based on (a) past research with flow state both within and outside of sport settings, (b) qualitative analysis of interviews with elite athletes, and (c) quantitative analyses conducted in the present investigation. Internal consistency estimates for the nine FSS scales were reasonable (alpha M = 33) for administration of the scale to 394 athletes. Confirmatory factor analyses supported the nine scales. Consistent with the theoretical basis of the FSS, there was also support for a hierarchical model in which one global (higher order) flow factor explained correlations among the nine first-order FSS factors. Suggestions for use of the scale and for further research are discussed.

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Herbert W. Marsh and Robyn Sutherland Redmayne

This study examines relations between six components of physical self-concept (Endurance, Balance, Flexibility, Strength, Appearance, and general Physical Ability) and five components of physical fitness (Endurance, Balance, Flexibility, Static Strength, Explosive Strength/Power) for a sample (N = 105) of young adolescent girls aged 13 and 14. Hierarchical confirmatory factor analyses identified the six physical self-concept scales and provided support for a multidimensional, hierarchical model of physical self-concept. The pattern of correlations between specific components of physical self-concept and physical fitness generally supported the construct validity of the self-concept responses, and the correlation between second-order factors representing general physical self-concept and general physical fitness (r = .76) was substantial.

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Susan A. Jackson and Herbert W. Marsh

The purpose of this study was to examine relations between women's involvment in sports and three psychological constructs: role conflict, sex-role identification, and multidimensional self-concepts. The three groups comprised female powerlifters competing in a national championship (n = 30), high school female athletes (n = 46), and high school female nonathletes (n = 46). Role conflict was not substantial except for a few specific areas related to conflicting expectations of appropriate female and athlete behavior. Both athletic groups scored substantially higher on masculinity (M) and on self-concept of physical ability than the nonathletic group, but there were no group differences on femininity (F) and few substantial differences in other areas of self-concept. Hence the results provide further support for the construct validity of androgyny and for the multidimensionality of self-concept. The major findings, that female athletes can be more M without being less F, and that female athletic involvement has positive benefits without producing any loss in F or in self-concept, dispels a popular myth about women's involvement in sports.

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Herbert W. Marsh, F. Hulya Asci, and Ines Marco Tomas

The present investigation demonstrated cross-cultural support for convergent and discriminant validity of the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) in a multitrait-multimethod analysis of relations with responses to the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP). The sample, 1,041 Turkish university students in elective physical education courses from 10 Turkish universities, provided a test of the cross-cultural generalizability of responses to these two widely used English language instruments. In support of construct validity interpretations, matching PSDQ and PSPP factors were highly correlated. However, support for the PSPP was undermined by extremely high correlations among several of its factors, due in part to a substantial method effect associated with its idiosyncratic response scale. Results based on this study with Turkish university students largely replicate and extend the findings of Marsh et al. (1994) with Australian high school students. Based on psychometric, theoretical, cross-cultural, and practical considerations, the results support the use of the PSDQ in a wide variety of research and applied settings.

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Herbert W. Marsh, Clark Perry, Chris Horsely, and Lawrence Roche

A broad cross-section of elite athletes (n = 83) was compared to a normative sample (n = 2,436) of nonathletes on the 13 self-concept scales for the Self-Description Questionnaire III (SDQIII). On these scales athletes had substantially higher Physical Ability self-concepts than nonathletes, but did not differ on Physical Appearance self-concepts. There were smaller differences favoring athletes on social scales (Same Sex, Opposite Sex, and Parent Relationships), Global Esteem, and the total self-concept. Group differences were not statistically significant for the academic scales (Math, Verbal, Academic, and Problem Solving) and Emotional self-concept, whereas nonathletes had marginally higher Spiritual and Honesty self-concepts. Athlete/nonathlete differences varied somewhat according to gender, generally favoring women athletes. Because the pattern of group differences (e.g., large differences in Physical Ability and minimal differences in Academic self-concept scales) is reasonably similar to a priori predictions, the results provide further support for the construct validity of SDQIII responses.

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Herbert W. Marsh, Andrew J. Martin, and Susan Jackson

Based on the Physical Self Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) normative archive (n = 1,607 Australian adolescents), 40 of 70 items were selected to construct a new short form (PSDQ-S). The PSDQ-S was evaluated in a new cross-validation sample of 708 Australian adolescents and four additional samples: 349 Australian elite-athlete adolescents, 986 Spanish adolescents, 395 Israeli university students, 760 Australian older adults. Across these six groups, the 11 PSDQ-S factors had consistently high reliabilities and invariant factor structures. Study 1, using a missing-by-design variation of multigroup invariance tests, showed invariance across 40 PSDQ-S items and 70 PSDQ items. Study 2 demonstrated factorial invariance over a 1-year interval (test–retest correlations .57–.90; Mdn = .77), and good convergent and discriminant validity in relation to time. Study 3 showed good and nearly identical support for convergent and discriminant validity of PSDQ and PSDQ-S responses in relation to two other physical self-concept instruments.

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Herbert W. Marsh, Alexandre J.S. Morin, and Philip D. Parker

Elite athletes and nonathletes (N = 1,268) attending the same selective sport high school (4 high school age cohorts, grades 7–10, mean ages varying from 10.9 to 14.1) completed the same physical self-concept instrument 4 times over a 2-year period (multiple waves). We introduce a latent cohort-sequence analysis that provides a stronger basis for assessing developmental stability/change than either cross-sectional (multicohort, single occasion) or longitudinal (single-cohort, multiple occasion) designs, allowing us to evaluate latent means across 10 waves spanning a 5-year period (grades 7–11), although each participant contributed data for only 4 waves, spanning 2 of the 5 years. Consistent with the frame-of-reference effects embodied in the big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE), physical self-concepts at the start of high school were much higher for elite athletes than for nonathlete classmates, but the differences declined over time so that by the end of high school there were no differences in the 2 groups. Gender differences in favor of males had a negative linear and quadratic trajectory over time, but the consistently smaller gender differences for athletes than for nonathletes did not vary with time.

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Athanasios Papaioannou, Herbert W. Marsh, and Yannis Theodorakis

Motivational climate is inherently a group-level construct so that longitudinal, multilevel designs are needed to evaluate its effects on subsequent outcomes. Based on a large sample of physical education classes (2,786 students, 200 classes, 67 teachers), we evaluated the effects of classroom motivational climate (task-involving and ego-involving) and individual goal orientations (task and ego) on individual students’ outcomes (intrinsic motivation, attitudes, physical self-concept, and exercise intentions) collected early (T1) and late (T2) in the school year. Using a multilevel approach, we found significant class-average differences in motivational climate at T1 that had positive effects on T2 outcomes after controlling T1 outcomes. Although there was no support for a “compatibility hypothesis” (e.g., that task oriented students were more benefited by task-involving motivation climates), the stability of goal orientations was undermined by incompatible climates.

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Florence Guérin, Herbert W. Marsh, and Jean-Pierre Famose

Two studies tested the generalizability of support for within- and between-construct validity based on responses to a French translation of the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) by high school students. The PSDQ is a multidimensional physical self-concept instrument designed to measure 11 components: health, coordination, physical activity, body fat, sports competence, global physical, appearance, strength, flexibility, endurance, and esteem. In the first study (N = 752), preliminary reliability analysis revealed strong internal consistency and overall stability. Confirmatory factor analysis provided support for structural equivalence with the original instrument. In the second study (N = 288), PSDQ factors were related to 13 external criteria of physical fitness; each was predicted a priori to be most highly correlated with one of the PSDQ scales. Bivariate correlations and CFA models supported both the convergent and discriminant validity of the PSDQ responses. These overall results demonstrated good support for the generalizability of the PSDQ with French adolescents.