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A reverse pathway? Actual and perceived skill proficiency and physical activity

journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2011, 00:00 authored by Lisa BarnettLisa Barnett, P Morgan, E van Beurden, Kylie BallKylie Ball, D Lubans
Purpose: Motor skills are considered a prerequisite to physical activity, yet the relationship may be reciprocal and perceived sports competence might mediate associations.
Methods: In 2006/2007, 215 adolescents completed motor skill proficiency (Get Skilled Get Active), perceived sport competence (Physical Self-Perception Profile) and physical activity assessments (Adolescent Physical Activity Recall Questionnaire) as part of the Physical Activity and Skills Study. Using AMOS (Version 7.0), reciprocal relationships were examined between motor skill (object control and locomotor) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Both models were then run in different versions to understand the role of perceived sports competence as a potential mediator.
Results: Mean age was 16.4 yr (SD = 0.6), 51.6% (111/215) were females. A reciprocal relationship between object control and MVPA and a one-way relationship from MVPA to locomotor skill was found. When perceived sports competence was examined as a mediator, the best-fitting model versions explained 16% (R² = 0.16)
MVPA variation, and 30% object control (R² = 0.30), and 12% locomotor skill variation (R² = 0.12) (reverse relationship). Perceived sports competence partially mediates the relationship between object control proficiency and physical activity for both directions and fully mediates the relationship between physical activity and locomotor skill; but only when locomotor skill is the outcome.
Conclusions: If the relationship between object control skill and physical activity is viewed as a ‘‘positive feedback loop,’’ skill development and increasing physical activity should simultaneously be targeted in physical activity interventions. Increasing perceived sport competence should also be an intervention focus.



Medicine & sciences in sports & exercise






898 - 904


Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


Philadelphia, Pa.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins