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Jacqueline D. Goodway and Mary E. Rudisill

This study examined the relationship between perceived physical competence and actual motor skill competence in African American preschool children at risk of school failure and/or developmental delay (N = 59). A secondary purpose was to determine gender differences and the accuracy of self-perceptions. All children completed a perceived physical competence subscale (Harter & Pike, 1984). Actual motor skill competence was measured by Ulrich’s (1985) Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD), resulting in three scores (locomotor, object-control, and TGMD-Total). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that locomotor competence (p = .99) and gender (p = .81) did not predict perceived physical competence, but object-control competence (p = .01) did significantly predict perceived physical competence. Adding gender to this regression model did not significantly predict perceived physical competence (p = .69). These findings showed that these children are not accurate at perceiving their physical competence.

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Jodie E. Southall, Anthony D. Okely and Julie R. Steele

This study compared actual and perceived physical competence of overweight and nonoverweight children. Participants were 109 nonoverweight and 33 overweight Grade 5 and 6 children (mean age 10.8 years). Overweight status was determined using age- and gender-specific international body-mass-index cut-off values. Actual competence was assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development, 2nd ed., and perceived competence was assessed using an expanded version of the Athletic Competence subscale of the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC). Overweight children had significantly lower actual and perceived physical competence. When actual competence was partitioned into locomotor and object-control skills, however, differences only existed for locomotor skills. These findings indicate that low actual and perceived physical competence might be important contributing factors in maintaining childhood obesity. Interventions to improve actual and perceived physical competence in overweight children should provide opportunities to learn and master fundamental movement skills in an environment where parents, teachers, and coaches provide positive and specific feedback, encouragement, and modeling.

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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.

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Stephanie Field, Jeff Crane, Patti-Jean Naylor and Viviene Temple

colleagues ( 2019 ) reported stable perceptions for boys and girls aged 8–11 years across a one-year period. Wigfield et al. also found that boys had more positive competence beliefs than the girls in their study. This trend toward boys reporting higher levels of perceived physical competence than girls is

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Ana C. Seabra, José Maia, André F. Seabra, Greg Welk, Robert Brustad and António M. Fonseca


The Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model provides an integrated approach to understanding the predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors influencing physical activity (PA) behavior. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an adapted version of the YPAP model for explaining PA among Portuguese schoolchildren.


A random cross-sectional sample of 683 children (8–10 years of age) attending elementary public schools in the north of Portugal completed a detailed survey assessing attraction to PA, perceived physical competence, parental influences and leisure time PA. Structural equation modeling techniques were conducted (EQS6.1).


Attraction to PA was directly associated with children’s PA participation (β = 0.271, P < .05). Perceived physical competence imposed an indirect effect on children’s PA through children’s attraction to PA (β = 0.253, P < .05). Parental influence had an indirect effect on children’s PA through perceived physical competence and attraction to PA (β = 0.318 and 0.662, respectively, P < .05). Perceived physical competence and parental influence were not directly associated with children’s PA (β = 0.069 and 0.180, respectively, P > .05).


The adapted version of YPAP model was useful in explaining PA participation in elementary Portuguese schoolchildren. Intervention programs intended to enhance attraction to PA, perceived physical competence and favorable parental influence should be developed to promote children’s PA participation.

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Timo Tapio Jaakkola, Arja Sääkslahti, Sami Yli-Piipari, Mika Manninen, Anthony Watt and Jarmo Liukkonen

The purpose of the study was to analyze students’ motivation in relation to their participation in fitness testing classes. Participants were 134 Finnish Grade 5 and 8 students. Students completed the contextual motivation and perceived physical competence scales before the fitness testing class and the situational motivation questionnaire immediately after the class. During the fitness test class, abdominal muscle endurance was measured by curl-up test, lower body explosive strength and locomotor skills by the five leaps test, and speed and agility by the Figure 8 running test. For the fitness testing class, students reported higher scores for intrinsic motivation, identified motivation, and amotivation than in their general physical education program. The result of the path analysis showed physical fitness was positively related to perceived physical competence. In addition, perceived competence was found to be a positive predictor of situational intrinsic motivation, but not of other forms of situational motivation. Significant path coefficients in the model ranged from −.15 to .26.

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Nadia C. Valentini and Mary E. Rudisill

Two studies were conducted to examine the effects of motivational climate on motor-skill development and perceived physical competence in kindergarten children with developmental delays. In Experiment 1, two intervention groups were exposed to environments with either high (mastery climate) or low autonomy for 12 weeks. Results showed that the mastery-climate group demonstrated significantly better locomotor performance and higher perceived physical competence postintervention than did the low-autonomy group, although both groups improved in locomotor and object-control skill performance. The second investigation extended the findings of the first by determining that the intervention effects were present 6 months later. In summary, the mastery-climate group showed positive changes in skill development and perceived physical competence, and this positive pattern of change was maintained over time.

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Robert J. Sonstroem, Lisa L. Harlow and Lynn Josephs

The purpose of this research was to test expansion of the Exercise and Self-Esteem Model (EXSEM) to include two levels of perceived physical competence as operationalized by the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP). Female aerobic dancers (N = 216, age M = 38.4) were administered a Self-Esteem scale (SE), the PSPP to assess a general Physical Self-Worth (PSW), and more specific subdomains of perceived Sport Competence (Sport), Physical Condition (Cond), Attractive Body (Body), and Strength (Stren). Subjects also completed self-efficacy scales for jogging, sitting, and aerobic dancing. Confirmatory factor analysis supported model measurement as hypothesized, %2 = 1,154.88, df = 681, comparative fit index (CFI) = .913, root mean square residual (RMSR) = .047. Structural equation modeling (SEM) supported EXSEM component relationships as proposed. Further SEM associating two exercise self-reports with EXSEM again displayed satisfactory fit indices and explained up to 27.6% of exercise variance. It was concluded that exercise in adult female aerobic dancers is associated with positive evaluations of their physical condition and with negative evaluations of their bodies.

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Robert J. Sonstroem, Elias D. Speliotis and Joseph L. Fava

The purpose of this research was to assess the structure and validity of the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) when used with adults in their middle and later years. Females (n=149) and males (n=111) completed the four subdomain scales (sport competence, physical condition, attractive body, strength); the more general domain scale, physical self-worth; and a global self-esteem scale. PSPP scales manifested strong internal consistency, validly separated exercisers from nonexercisers (Canonical R=.71 for females, .64 for males, and predicted degree of exercise involvement (Canonical R=.73 for females, .64 for males). Principal-component analyses revealed scale overlap for the scales for physical self-worth and attractive body. Although future PSPP users are warned of probable redundancy in these two scales, continued use and study of PSPP scales is strongly encouraged.

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Elaine Mullan, John Albinson and David Markland

This study explored whether children differentiate between their physical capabilities at play activities, informal recreational activities, and formal competitive activities. Harter’s (11) six-item Athletic Competence subscale from the SelfPerception Profile for Children was administered to 578 children and adolescents (ages 7-15 years). The items were modified to refer to three different categories of physical activity instead of sport or outdoor games as used in the original subscale. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed that children differentiated between the three categories of physical activity, and that the competitive sport category was their area of lowest perceived competence. Males had higher levels of perceived competence than females in each category.