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Nadja Schott and Maike Tietjens

Mobility restriction as a consequence of a fall is a major issue in assisted-living facilities. Although many factors are related to falling, little is known about the relationship between falls, social support, falls efficacy, and physical activity. The authors examined the relationship between falls and the Social Support Questionnaire, the Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, and physical activity simultaneously in 81 older adults (66–94 years) using structural equation modeling. The structural equation model revealed that being older was associated with lower falls efficacy and a higher number of falls, and higher falls efficacy was associated with a higher number of steps per day. The development of a structural equation model illustrating the mediating effects of social support and falls efficacy on the relationship between falls and physical activity can help health care professionals in predicting risk factors of falls that may be compromised by residing in an assisted-living facility.

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Nancy Getchell, Nadja Schott and Ali Brian

Throughout this special issue, different authors have discussed diverse aspects of past, present, and future motor development research. In such research, understanding how people move involves much more than studying motor behavior in individuals of different ages. Rather, empirical designs should embed some element of past, present, and future motor behavior into research questions, designs, methodologies, and interpretations. In this article, we provide an overview on the process of asking movement-related developmental questions and designing appropriate research studies that will answer them to provide a foundation for both new and returning investigators interested in studying human motor development. We compare descriptive and experimental approaches as well as longitudinal, cross-sectional, and alternative research designs, followed by a discussion of common statistical analyses suited for these designs. Through this discussion, we offer suggestions for the most appropriate ways in which to study developmental change. We finish with our thoughts on future directions for investigational methods within motor development research.

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Maike Tietjens, Dennis Dreiskaemper, Till Utesch, Nadja Schott, Lisa M. Barnett and Trina Hinkley

Children’s self-perception of motor skills and physical fitness is said to be an important mediator between skills and physical fitness on the one hand and physical activity on the other hand. An age-appropriate self-perception scale is needed to understand the development and the differentiation of the physical self-concept of children and its components. Therefore, the objectives of this study were (1) to develop a pictorial scale of physical fitness for pre-school children (3–6 years old), and (2) to describe the face validity and feasibility of the scale. The study sample included 27 kindergarten children. In order to determine the psychometric properties, validity was assessed by administrating the Pictorial Scale for Physical Self-Concept in Kindergarten Children (P-PSC-C) compared with children’s fundamental movement skill competency (Test of Gross Motor Development [TGMD]-3; six locomotor and seven object-control skills), height, weight, and demographics. The face validity was favorable. Expectable negatively skewed response distributions were found in all items. Medium correlations with related constructs and with sport enjoyment were found. The results indicate that the new scale is usable for kindergarten children. Future validation studies are needed so that the new scale can contribute to the research about physical self-concept development in kindergarten children.

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Jane E. Clark, Farid Bardid, Nancy Getchell, Leah E. Robinson, Nadja Schott and Jill Whitall

Motor development research has had a rich history over the 20th century with a wide array of scientists contributing to a broad and deep body of literature. Just like the process of development, progress within the field has been non-linear, with rapid periods of growth occurring after the publication of key research articles that changed how we conceptualized and explored motor development. These publications provided new ways to consider developmental issues and, as a result, ignited change in our theoretical and empirical approaches within the field of motor development and the broader field of developmental psychology. In this paper, we outline and discuss six pioneering studies that we consider significant in their impact and in the field’s evolution, in order of publication: ; ; ; ; ; . We have limited this review to empirical papers only. Together, they offer insight into what motor development research is, where it came from, why it matters, and what it has achieved.

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Jill Whitall, Nadja Schott, Leah E. Robinson, Farid Bardid and Jane E. Clark

In 1989, Clark and Whitall asked the question, “What is motor development?” They were referring to the study of motor development as an academic research enterprise and answered their question primarily by describing four relatively distinct time periods characterized by changes in focus, theories or concepts, and methodology. Their last period was named the process-oriented period (1970–1989). In hindsight, it seems clear that their last period could be divided into two separate historical time periods: the information-processing period (1970–1982) and the dynamical systems period (1982–2000). In the present paper, we briefly revisit the first three periods defined by Clark and Whitall, and expand and elaborate on the two periods from 1970 to the turn of the century. Each period is delineated by key papers and the major changes in focus, theories or concepts, and methodology. Major findings about motor development are also described from some papers as a means of showing the progression of knowledge.

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Jill Whitall, Farid Bardid, Nancy Getchell, Melissa M. Pangelinan, Leah E. Robinson, Nadja Schott and Jane E. Clark

In Part I of this series I, we looked back at the 20th century and re-examined the history of Motor Development research described in Clark & Whitall’s 1989 paper “What is Motor Development? The Lessons of History”. We now move to the 21st century, where the trajectories of developmental research have evolved in focus, branched in scope, and diverged into three new areas. These have progressed to be independent research areas, co-existing in time. We posit that the research focus on Dynamical Systems at the end of the 20th century has evolved into a Developmental Systems approach in the 21st century. Additionally, the focus on brain imaging and the neural basis of movement have resulted in a new approach, which we entitled Developmental Motor Neuroscience. Finally, as the world-wide obesity epidemic identified in the 1990s threatened to become a public health crisis, researchers in the field responded by examining the role of motor development in physical activity and health-related outcomes; we refer to this research area as the Developmental Health approach. The glue that holds these research areas together is their focus on movement behavior as it changes across the lifespan.