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Alex C. Garn, Alexandre J.S. Morin, Jeffrey Martin, Erin Centeio, Bo Shen, Noel Kulik, Cheryl Somers and Nate McCaughtry

This study investigated a reciprocal effects model (REM) of children’s body fat self-concept and physical self-concept, and objectively measured school physical activity at different intensities. Grade four students (N = 376; M age = 9.07, SD = .61; 55% boys) from the midwest region of the United States completed measures of physical self-concept and body fat self-concept, and wore accelerometers for three consecutive school days at the beginning and end of one school year. Findings from structural equation modeling analyses did not support reciprocal effects. However, children’s body fat self-concept predicted future physical self-concept and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Multigroup analyses explored the moderating role of weight status, sex, ethnicity, and sex*ethnicity within the REM. Findings supported invariance, suggesting that the observed relations were generalizable for these children across demographic groups. Links between body fat self-concept and future physical self-concept and MVPA highlight self-enhancing effects that can promote children’s health and well-being.

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

“In very broad terms, self-concept is a person’s perception of himself. These perceptions are formed through experiences with his environment [. . .] and are influenced by environmental reinforcement and significant others” ( Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976 , p. 411). Self-concept is regarded as

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Herbert W. Marsh and Clark Perry

Elite athlete self-concepts contributed to championship performances in two international swimming championships beyond that which could be explained by previous personal best (PPB) performances for 257 of the world’s top swimmers from 30 countries. Responses to the Elite Swimmer Self-Description Questionnaire (ESSDQ) completed at the start of each championship (prior to competition) were psychometrically strong and resulted in a well-defined factor structure. Whereas championship performance was highly related to PPB performance (r = .90), structural equation models demonstrated that elite athlete self-concept also contributed significantly to the prediction of subsequent championship performance, explaining approximately 10% of the residual variance after controlling for PPB. For swimmers who competed in two events, results based on the first event were replicated in the second. The results have important theoretical, substantive, and practical implications for mentors and educators.

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Herbert W. Marsh and Robert J. Sonstroem

Fox (1990) proposed a personalized hierarchical model of physical self-concept that integrated self-concept and perceived importance ratings, and he developed instruments to measure these constructs. Alternative approaches based on his instruments are evaluated with data from Sonstroem, Harlow, and Josephs’ (1994) study of 216 adult female aerobic dancers and their exercise activity. Consistent with previous research, there was little support for importance weighted-average or importance discrepancy models in the prediciton of self-esteem, general physical self-concept, or exercise behavior. However, condition self-concept was more positively related to exercise than other components of physical self-concept, and importance ratings of specific components of physical self-concept were positively related to exercise. These results support the construct validity of multidimensional physical self-concept responses, the value of specific domains of self-concept most relevant to a particular application rather than global measures of self, and the usefulness of importance ratings for predicting exercise activity.

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Elizabeth Y. Brown, James R. Morrow Jr. and Stephen M. Livingston

The purpose of the present study was to determine if completion of a 14-week conditioning course affected the physical and total self-concepts of college-age women. Analysis of variance was used to contrast experimental and control groups of 50 subjects each on selected subscales of the Tennessee Self Concept Scale. Results indicated that the women showed significant differences in self-concept upon completion of the conditioning program; however, effects were not generalizable to all dimensions of self-concept. Implications are that training programs may be beneficial in their impact on selected aspects of the self-concept of women as well as the physiological parameters typically affected by conditioning programs. Self-concept profiles are developed for those women who entered the program as well as for those who completed the program.

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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 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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Theresa C. Brown and Mary D. Fry

This study examined the relationship between college students’ perceptions of the motivational climate (i.e., caring, task- and ego-involving) in physical activity courses to their physical self-concept, hope, and happiness. Midwestern university undergraduates (N = 412), enrolled in group physical activity classes, completed the following measures: class climate, physical self-concept, hope, and happiness. Canonical correlation analysis revealed that students who perceived a caring, task-involving climate were more likely to report high physical self-concept, hope, and happiness. A gender comparison found that while perceptions of the ego-involving climate were significantly higher for males, the ego climate did not significantly contribute to the males’ canonical correlation. In addition, while physical self-concept was positively associated with climate for both genders, males were more likely to experience higher physical self-concept than females. Results suggest positive and supportive exercise environments may not only help individuals reap the physical benefits of exercise but also the psychological benefits.

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Herbert W. Marsh, Michael Bar-Eli, Sima Zach and Garry E. Richards

This study extends support for the construct validity of the three strongest physical self-concept measures for 395 Israeli university students (60% women) aged 18 to 54, demonstrating a new extension of the multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) design that incorporates external validity criteria and a test of jingle-jangle fallacies. Structural equation models of this MTMM data confirmed the a priori 23-factor structure of the three instruments, and the convergent and discriminant validity of factors from each instrument in relation to those from the other instruments. There were few age effects, whereas gender differences were smaller than expected and stable over age. In support of the known-group-difference approach, physical education majors had systematically higher physical self-concepts than management majors. Relations of body image to self-concept factors supported the convergent and discriminant validity of the physical self-concept factors and the separation of body fat from physical appearance self-concepts, but having a more obese body was not significantly related to health self-concept or global self-esteem factors.

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Julien P. Chanal, Herbert W. Marsh, Philippe G. Sarrazin and Julien E. Bois

In sport/exercise contexts, individuals use the performances of others to evaluate their own competence. In big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE) in educational settings, academic self-concept is positively predicted by one’s academic achievement but negatively predicted by the average achievement of others in one’s school or class. Participation in programs for academically gifted students leads to lower self-concept. In apparently the first test of the BFLPE in the physical domain, multilevel models of responses by 405 participants in 20 gymnastics classes supported these predictions. Gymnastics self-concept was positively predicted by individual gymnastics skills, but negatively predicted by class-average gymnastics skills. The size of this negative BFLPE grew larger during the 10-week training program (as participants had more exposure to the relative performances of others in their class), but did not vary as a function of gender, age, or initial gymnastics skills.