Self-concepts (self-perceptions) of physical fitness and academic achievement were related to 14 field and laboratory indicators of physical fitness and to academic achievement for a large, national representative sample of Australian boys and girls aged 9 to 15 (N = 6,283). Correlations between self-concepts and the corresponding external criteria increased steadily with age in both the physical and academic domains. Consistent with predictions from frame-of-reference models, relations were stronger after controlling for gender and age, suggesting that self-concepts are formed relative to other students of a similar age and gender. Fitness self-concept was most strongly related to some individual measures (e.g., 1.6K run, 50M dash, push-ups, skin fold thickness, VO2max, long jump, and body girth scores) and some components of fitness (e.g., cardiovascular endurance, power, dynamic strength, and body composition) than others. Consistent with multidimensional perspectives of physical fitness, indicators from a variety of fitness domains contributed to fitness self-concepts.
Herbert W. Marsh is with the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, P.O. Box 555, Campbelltown, NSW 2560, Australia.