Motor competence is associated with psychological and physical health outcomes. A reciprocal relationship between motor competence and perceptions of physical competence exists, but the developmental trajectory of the motor competence/perceived competence relationship is not well understood. Standardized assessments take a product- or process-oriented approach, but research concerning the motor competence/perceived competence relationship is limited to using process-oriented assessments. It is unknown whether boys and girls use product and process information differentially in the development of perceived competence. Children (N = 411) were aggregated into age groups. Perceived competence and product and process aspects of motor competence were assessed. Older children were more skillful than younger children but reported lower perceived competence. The motor competence/perceived competence association increased for both motor competence measures across age groups. Girls demonstrated stronger associations between process measures of motor competence and perceived competence, while boys indicated stronger associations between product measures of motor competence and perceived competence. When both motor competence measures were used to predict perceived competence, more variance in perceived competence was explained, compared with using independent predictors. The strength of the prediction increased across age groups, indicating that motor competence is a stronger predictor of perceived competence in older children.
True is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY. Brian is with the Dept. of Physical Education and Athletic Training, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Goodway is with the Dept. of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Stodden is with the College of Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.