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Associations between young children's perceived and actual ball skill competence and physical activity

journal contribution
posted on 2015-03-01, 00:00 authored by Lisa BarnettLisa Barnett, Nicky RidgersNicky Ridgers, Jo SalmonJo Salmon
Objectives: The relationship between actual and perceived object control competence (ball skills) and the contribution to young children’s physical activity is not known.
Design: Cross sectional study.
Methods: The Test Gross Motor Development-2 assessed actual object control competence and a modified version of the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children assessed perceived object control competence. Moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity was measured via accelerometry. Three mixed regression models were performed: (i) object control competence as the predictor and the outcome as perceived object control, (ii) perceived object control competence as the predictor and the outcome moderate to vigorous physical activity and (iii) actual object control as the predictor and the outcome moderate to vigorous physical activity. Models adjusted for school clustering, monitor wear time, sex and age. Interactions between respective predictor variables and sex were performed if warranted. A total of 102 children (56% boys, 44% girls) aged 4–8 years (M 6.3, SD 0.92) completed assessments.
Results: Girls had lower perceived and actual object control competence and were less active than boys. Actual object control competence was positively associated with perceived object control competence (B = 0.11, t(96) = 2.25, p < 0.001, p = 0.027) and this relationship did not differ by sex (p = 0.449); however, neither actual (p = 0.092) nor perceived object control competence (p = 0.827) were associated with moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Discussion: Young children’s perceived ball skill abilities appear to relate to actual competence; however, these measures were not associated with physical activity. In older children, object control skill is associated with physical activity so targeting young children’s object control skills is an intervention priority.



Journal of science and medicine in sport






167 - 171




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Elsevier