Perceived motor competence and self-efficacy in children: Competitive sports vs sedentary lifestyle




Self-efficacy, Perceived motor competence, Sport, Sedentary lifestyle, Children


Background: the study of physical self-perception is fundamental to understand how children perceive their movement skills, identify their level of perception of physical self-efficacy as well as their opinion on their motor skills. It can provide useful key information to give appropriate feedback and to plan some programmes aimed to develop fundamental movement skills. Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the perceived competences and physical self-efficacy in a sample of young, sedentary subjects and athletes, through a fact-finding survey. The core of the investigation was to verify whether there were substantial differences between subjects who practice sports at a competitive way and in sedentary one. Methods: The study was carried out from 100 young people aged between 8 and 14 years. 75 athletes (38 F 38 M) were recruited in three small sport associations the same district in southern Italy and 25 students who do not participate organized sports (13 F, 12 M), were recruited in a secondary school in the same district. Written consent was obtained in through a formal letter to parents explaining the study's goals, procedures, and methods. The selection of the investigation tools ware carried out by identifying two tests validated in the literature. Two tests were used: the Perceived Motor Competence Questionnaire in Childhood (PMC-C) (Dreiskaemper, 2018) and the Self-efficacy scale (Colella, 2008). The data were analysed by SPSS statistical software. The two observations were analysed separately; for each item and groups (sedentary subjects, swimmers, soccer players and gymnasts), were calculated mean value, standard deviation and level of significance. These values have been highlighted in the descriptive tables and in the histogram graphs. The differences between gender and between groups (sedentary subjects and athletes) have been calculated with the Mann-Whitney test. Results: the data shows significant differences in both tests highlighting a strong relationship between sport activity and self-related aspects. The comparison of means between sedentary subjects and athletes confirms a significant difference between the two groups with p < .01 both in Self-Efficacy Test and Perception of Motor Competence test.


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How to Cite

D’Anna, C., Mucci, M., & Vastola, R. (2021). Perceived motor competence and self-efficacy in children: Competitive sports vs sedentary lifestyle. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(4), 889–901.



Physical Education / Children & Exercise

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