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Dale A. Ulrich and Douglas H. Collier

Self-perceptions of competence are thought to mediate a person’s motivation to participate and persist in tasks under optimally challenging conditions. Little systematic research has been conducted related to the self-perceptions of physical competence in children with mental retardation and the influence on achievement motivation in this domain. Various models of self-concept are reviewed, followed by a discussion of self-concept and special populations. Preliminary data are presented on a modified pictorial scale of perceived physical competence for use with 7- to 12-year-old students with mild mental retardation. Future research directions are proposed related to achievement motivation, perceived competence, and mental retardation.