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John A. Hay, Brock University and John Cairney

An understanding of the habitual physical activity levels of children with chronic disorders is an important consideration relevant to both treatment and clinical monitoring (8). However, a feasible and useful tool for measuring the physical activity levels of children with chronic illness in clinical settings is not readily available. In this article, we review the development and initial psychometric testing (i.e., construct and reliability) of the Habitual Activity Estimation Scale (HAES), a measure developed for use in clinical research. A summary of these investigations suggests that the HAES appears both valid and reliable as a measure of activity in pediatric populations.

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Rheanna Bulten, Sara King-Dowling and John Cairney

Purpose: To determine the validity of standing long jump (SLJ) for predicting muscle power in children with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Methods: A total of 589 children were recruited as part of the Coordination and Activity Tracking in CHildren study (251 girls and 338 boys; mean age 59.2 mo). Children were classified as typically developing (>16th percentile), at risk for DCD (sixth to 16th percentile), or probable DCD (<sixth percentile) based on Movement Assessment Battery for Children—Second Edition scores. SLJ was measured from the back of the heel. Peak power and mean power over 10 seconds and 30 seconds were measured using the Wingate test. Results: SLJ was moderately correlated with peak and mean powers in all groups (R = .51–.55). Regression analysis showed that when combined with weight and age, SLJ performance could predict peak power and mean power over 10 seconds and 30 seconds in typically developing children (adjusted R 2 = .68, .61, and .58, P < .001, respectively) and in children with risk for DCD (adjusted R 2 = .74, .65, and .60, respectively) and probable DCD (adjusted R 2 = .68, .61, and .59, respectively). Conclusions: SLJ, in combination with weight and age, may be used to measure muscle power in typically developing children, and in children with risk for DCD and probable DCD. This measure can be used as an inexpensive estimate of musculoskeletal fitness in children regardless of motor abilities.

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Dean Dudley, Nathan Weaver and John Cairney

Although high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is perceived to be an efficient way to meet health outcomes in physical education (PE), the effect of HIIT on the learning environment of students is unknown. Purpose: This study compared two PE interventions lasting 8 weeks and assessed the potential efficacy of embedding HIIT into a PE program to meet concurrent health and educative outcomes. Methods: Participants (N = 166; mean age = 12.91 years) were assigned to one of two study conditions according to intact groupings: HIIT program (n = 84) and dynamic PE (DPE) program (n = 82). Assessments occurred at baseline and postintervention. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to test the intervention effects in each group. Results: Postintervention analysis demonstrated increases in health indices of both groups and comparing the effect size of each intervention revealed no difference. Systematic direct observation revealed effects for the provision of terminal feedback within the HIIT intervention (g = 1.03) when compared with the DPE intervention. A self-report questionnaire revealed changes in motivation toward PE among students allocated to the HIIT group were trivial, whereas students exposed to the DPE program displayed increased levels of motivation toward their PE experience. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that HIIT may elicit positive changes in PE settings by creating a “time potential” leading to an increased opportunity to learn without negating health gains. The DPE program proved to be move favorable in terms of student motivations to learn during PE.

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Dean Dudley, John Cairney and Jackie Goodway

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John Cairney, Divya Joshi, Matthew Kwan, John Hay and Brent Faught

This study examines the associations among socioeconomic status (SES), aging, gender and sport and physical activity participation from late childhood into adolescence. Drawing from previous research, we test three hypotheses regarding the impact of aging on SES and sport participation using longitudinal data. The data come from a prospective cohort study of children, all of whom were enrolled in grade 4 (at baseline) in the public school system of a large region of southern Ontario, Canada. We examine two outcome measures: participation in organized sport and physical activity and active free play. Our results show different effects of neighborhood household income, aging and gender for each outcome. For organized sport participation, neighborhood household income effects are constant over time for both boys and girls. For active free play however, neighborhood household income differences widen (or diverge) over time for girls, but not for boys. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research and policy considerations.

Cette étude examine les associations entre statut socioéconomique, âge, genre et participation en sport et en activité physique de la fin de l’enfance à l’adolescence. Nous nous appuyons sur les recherches antérieures et des données longitudinales pour tester trois hypothèses à propos de l’impact de l’âge sur le statut socioéconomique et la participation en sport. Les données proviennent d’une étude de cohorte prospective d’enfants, tous étant inscrits en 4ème année (au début de l’étude) dans le système scolaire public d’une grande région du sud de l’Ontario au Canada. Nous mesurons deux types de résultats : la participation en sport organisé et activité physique et le jeu libre actif. Nos résultats montrent différents effets du revenu du ménage du quartier, de l’âge et du genre pour chaque résultat. Pour la participation en sport organisé, les effets du revenu du ménage du quartier sont constants avec le temps à la fois pour les garçons et les filles. Pour le jeu libre actif en revanche, les différences dans le revenu du ménage augmentent (ou divergent) avec le temps pour les filles, mais pas pour les garçons. Nous discutons les implications de ces résultats pour les études et politiques futures.

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John Cairney, John Hay, Brent Faught, James Mandigo and Andreas Flouris

This study investigated the effect of gender on the relationship between Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and self-reported participation in organized and recreational free-play activities. A participation-activity questionnaire and the short form Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency was administered to a large sample of children ages 9 to 14 (N = 590). A total of 44 children (19 boys, 25 girls) were identified as having probable DCD. Regardless of gender, children with DCD had lower self-efficacy toward physical activity and participated in fewer organized and recreational play activities than did children without the disorder. While there were no gender by DCD interactions with self-efficacy and play, girls with DCD had the lowest mean scores of all children. These findings are discussed in terms of the social norms that influence boys and girls’ participation in physical activity.

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John Cairney, Tia Kiez, E. Paul Roetert and Dean Kriellaars

While it is commonly thought that physical literacy is an early 21st-century construct and is often credited to Margaret Whitehead, in fact, the term physical literacy can be traced back to the late 1800s. In this narrative, the authors review descriptions of physical literacy that appeared in the late 19th and early to mid-20th century literature and show how physical literacy is historically tied to the reoccurring contextual issue of threats to active lifestyles and how definitional components of the construct have both remained consistent, while others changed over the course of the century. They conclude by discussing some tensions that have arisen with the Whiteheadian construction of the term, as well as the conflation of the term with fitness or physical education. In doing so, the authors hope to open up greater discussion of the multidisciplinary potential of this construct.

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Tuyen Le, Jeffrey D. Graham, Sara King-Dowling and John Cairney

This study examined the effects of perceptions of motor abilities on aerobic and musculoskeletal exercise performance in young children at risk for developmental coordination disorder (rDCD). The participants (N = 539) were part of a larger cohort study, the Coordination and Activity Tracking in Children (CATCH) study. The Movement Assessment Battery for Children (2nd Edition) was used to determine rDCD children. Perceptions of motor abilities were measured by the Perceived Efficacy and Goals Setting system. Aerobic exercise performance was measured using the Bruce Protocol treadmill test, and musculoskeletal exercise performance was assessed using the standing long jump and the Wingate Anaerobic test. The rDCD children reported lower Perceived Efficacy and Goals Setting scores and performed worse on all exercise performance measures. Perceptions of ability also mediated the relationship between developmental coordination disorder and each exercise performance test. It is concerning that children with low motor coordination report lower perceptions of ability even at a very young age.

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John Cairney, Matthew YW Kwan, Scott Veldhuizen and Guy EJ Faulkner


To examine the prevalence of exercise as a coping behavior for stress, compare this to other coping behaviors, and examine its demographic, behavioral, and health correlates in a nationally representative sample of Canadians.


We used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey 1.2, a cross-sectional survey of 36,984 Canadians aged 15 and over, and conducted univariate and logistic regression analyses to address our objectives.


40% of Canadians reported using exercise for coping with stress (ranked 8th overall). These individuals were more likely to endorse other ‘positive’ coping strategies and less likely to use alcohol or drugs for coping. Being younger, female, unmarried, of high SES, and a nonsmoker were associated with higher likelihoods of using exercise as a coping strategy. High levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with increased, and heavy physical activity at work with decreased, odds of reporting using exercise for stress coping.


While reported use of exercise for stress coping is common in the general population, it is less so than several other behaviors. Encouraging exercise, particularly in groups identified as being less likely to use exercise for stress coping, could potentially reduce overall stress levels and improve general health and well-being.

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John Cairney, Heather Clark, Dean Dudley and Dean Kriellaars

Purpose: Physical literacy (PL) has been proposed as a key construct for understanding participation in physical activity. However, the lack of an agreed-upon definition and measure has hindered research on the topic. The current study proposed and analyzed the construct validity of a PL model comprised of motor competence, perceived competence, motivation, and enjoyment. Method: The authors tested three different models in two samples: Grade 5 (N = 1,448) and Grade 7 students (N = 698). Results: The PL construct was best represented as a hierarchical model in both the Grade 5, X2(295) = 791.90, p < .001; root mean square error of approximation = .035; and comparative-fit index = .97, and the Grade 7 samples, X2(295) = 557.21, p < .001; root mean square error of approximation = .036; and comparative-fit index = .98, samples. Discussion: Future work is needed to design and evaluate a PL measure consistent with our model. Such work will help generate further research and understanding of PL.