Two articles that contribute to the literature on psychosocial predictors of youths’ physical activity motivation and behavior were chosen for commentary. The first article by Fenner and colleagues showed that a family-based intervention was effective at increasing overweight adolescents’ self-determined motivation for physical activity and healthy eating and their quality of life. Significant study contributions include a multidisciplinary team of researchers, multiple pre and post intervention assessments, and a longitudinal test of mechanisms of change. Findings contribute to understanding how to provide overweight adolescents with support and choices at a critical developmental period to ultimately foster lifelong healthy behaviors. The second article by Garn and colleagues examined longitudinal relationships between physical self-perceptions and physical activity among children. Important study contributions include use of accelerometers to assess physical activity and tests of bidirectional relationships. The sample of young children aged 8–11 years also contributes to the literature. Results highlight body acceptance as an important mechanism of focus to foster children’s physical activity behavior. Overall, the highlighted studies show that parental support and positive self-perceptions are important to consider in supporting youths’ active lifestyles.
Lindsay E. Kipp
A signature characteristic of positive youth development (PYD) programs is the opportunity to develop life skills, such as social, behavioral, and moral competencies, that can be generalized to domains beyond the immediate activity. Although context-specific instruments are available to assess developmental outcomes, a measure of life skills transfer would enable evaluation of PYD programs in successfully teaching skills that youth report using in other domains. The purpose of our studies was to develop and validate a measure of perceived life skills transfer, based on data collected with The First Tee, a physical activity-based PYD program.
In 3 studies, we conducted a series of steps to provide content and construct validity and internal consistency reliability for the life skills transfer survey (LSTS), a measure of perceived life skills transfer.
Study 1 provided content validity for the LSTS that included 8 life skills and 50 items. Study 2 revealed construct validity (structural validity) through a confirmatory factor analysis and convergent validity by correlating scores on the LSTS with scores on an assessment tool that measures a related construct. Study 3 offered additional construct validity by reassessing youth 1 year later and showing that scores during both time periods were invariant in factor pattern, loadings, and variances and covariances. Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated internal consistency reliability of the LSTS.
Results from 3 studies provide evidence of content and construct validity and internal consistency reliability for the LSTS, which can be used in evaluation research with youth development programs.
Nicole D. Bolter, Lindsay Kipp and Tyler Johnson
Background: Promoting good sportsmanship is a common goal of school physical education and many youth sport organizations. Teachers and coaches play a key role in accomplishing this goal. Thus, it is important to gather teachers’ and coaches’ reports of how they teach sportsmanship as well as youths’ perceptions of those behaviors to understand if and how this goal is being fulfilled. Purpose: To clarify the degree of alignment between leader and youth perceptions of sportsmanship by comparing: (a) physical education teachers’ self-reported sportsmanship teaching behaviors with their students’ perceptions of their teacher’s behavior and (b) youth sport coaches’ self-reported sportsmanship coaching behaviors with their athletes’ perceptions of their coach’s behaviors. Method: The physical education sample included 27 teachers and 837 boys and girls aged 11–15 years. The sport sample included 32 coaches and 246 boys and girls aged 10–15 years. Youth completed a survey about their leader’s behaviors related to sportsmanship. Leaders completed a parallel survey about their own behaviors. Results: Teachers rated themselves as significantly more often reinforcing and modeling good sportsmanship and punishing poor sportsmanship than students reported. Coaches rated themselves as significantly more often reinforcing and teaching good sportsmanship than perceived by their athletes. Conclusions: Misalignment between leaders’ and youths’ perceptions of several sportsmanship behaviors speaks to the importance of leaders engaging in strategies to accurately assess their own behaviors.
Christine E. Johnson, Heather E. Erwin, Lindsay Kipp and Aaron Beighle
We used achievement goal theory to examine students’ physical activity (PA) motivation and physical education (PE) enjoyment. Purposes included: 1) determine whether schools with different pedagogical approaches varied in student perceptions of mastery and performance climate dimensions, enjoyment, and PA; 2) examine gender and grade differences in enjoyment and PA; and 3) determine if dimensions of motivational climate predicted enjoyment and PA levels in PE, controlling for gender and grade. Youth (n = 290, 150 girls) from three southeast United States middle schools wore a pedometer and completed a motivational climate and enjoyment questionnaire. Boys were more active and enjoyed PE more than girls, and 7th/8th grade students were more active than 6th grade students. Enjoyment was positively predicted by teacher’s emphasis on two mastery climate dimensions, controlling for gender. PE activity time was predicted by two performance climate dimensions, controlling for gender and grade. Implications for practice are discussed.
Maureen R. Weiss, Alison C. Phillips and Lindsay E. Kipp
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of an existing physical fitness program (CHAMPIONS) implemented during physical education on health-related indices (BMI percentile, waist circumference, cardiorespiratory endurance), self-perceptions, academic performance, and behavioral conduct over a school year. Students in 3 intervention (n = 331) and 3 control (n = 745) middle schools participated in the study that included assessments at pre, mid, and postintervention. Multivariate repeated measures analyses indicated that boys and girls in CHAMPIONS compared favorably (p < .0125) to Controls at postintervention on cardiorespiratory endurance, and boys significantly improved on BMI percentile from pre- to mid- and postintervention (p < .0125). Students in CHAMPIONS maintained healthy BMI percentile and waist circumference values over the year. Findings provide preliminary evidence that CHAMPIONS is effective in improving or maintaining physical health indices among middle school youth.
Lindsay E. Kipp, Nicole D. Bolter and Alison Phillips Reichter
Purpose: Girls participating in aesthetic sports may be at risk for disordered eating and low self-esteem. Informed by self-determination theory, the authors examined motivational climate profiles to understand how climate dimensions differentially relate to psychological needs satisfaction, self-esteem, and disordered eating. Methods: Female gymnasts, divers, and figure skaters (N = 183; mean age = 13.5) completed a survey to assess perceptions of the motivational climate, perceived sport competence, autonomy, relatedness, self-esteem, and dieting. Pubertal status was assessed to control for developmental differences. Results: Three profiles emerged: High Important Role/Low Performance, High Effort and Cooperation/High Rivalry, and Low Mastery/High Unequal Recognition and Punishment. A 3 × 2 multivariate analysis of variance revealed profile groups significantly differed on perceived autonomy, coach relatedness, and teammate relatedness. In addition, perceived competence, self-esteem, and dieting significantly differed by pubertal status. For autonomy, the High Important Role/Low Performance group reported the highest scores. For coach and teammate relatedness, the Low Mastery/High Unequal Recognition and Punishment group reported significantly lower scores than the other 2 groups. Postpubertal girls reported lower sport ability and self-esteem and greater dieting. Conclusion: Physical maturity and social context were important in explaining girls’ psychological needs satisfaction and well-being. Results add to the authors’ understanding of the complex nature and influence of the motivational climate.
Maureen R. Weiss, Lindsay E. Kipp, Alison Phillips Reichter, Sarah M. Espinoza and Nicole D. Bolter
Purpose: Girls on the Run is an after-school physical activity-based positive youth development program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical development. We evaluated the effectiveness of the program by employing a longitudinal design and mixed methods. Methods: Girls (N = 203; aged 8–11 y) completed survey measures of positive youth development constructs (competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring), physical activity, and sedentary behavior prior to, at the end of, and 3 months after the season. Subsamples of girls, coaches, caregivers, and school personnel participated in focus groups. Coaches completed information about their team’s community impact project and number of girls who completed the season-ending 5k. Results: The full sample improved in confidence and connection, whereas girls who started below the preseason average showed the greatest gains from preseason to postseason on all measures, and scores were maintained or continued to improve at follow-up. All stakeholders in focus groups corroborated evidence of season-long improvement in social and emotional behaviors and health outcomes. Involvement in the community impact project contributed to girls’ growth in character and empathy skills. Conclusion: Findings provide empirical evidence that Girls on the Run is effective in promoting positive youth development, including season-long and lasting change in competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and physical activity, especially among girls who exhibited lower preseason scores than their peers.