The Psychological Impact of Fitness Testing in Physical Education: A Pilot Experimental Study Among Australian Adolescents

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  • | 2 Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia
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Purpose: Fitness testing is common within physical education, but there has been considerable debate about the pedagogical purpose and potential psychological implications of this practice. The aim of this study was to conduct a pilot experimental study to determine the impact of traditional fitness testing approaches on the body image, self-esteem, mood, and attitudes toward fitness testing of a sample of Australian students. Method: Fifty-one students in Grades 7–10 completed a questionnaire before and after their usual two traditional fitness testing classes at their school. Results: Repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed there were no significant differences from T1 to T2 on body image, self-esteem, or mood scores. However, there were significant differences observed over time, for participants aged over 15 years, whose self-esteem, social self-esteem subscale, and attitudes toward fitness testing scores, decreased from T1 to T2. Conclusion: This study provides initial evidence that older students may experience a decline in self-esteem due to fitness testing.

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