Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Validity of the Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Validity of the Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Article excerpt

As Harter (1990) noted, there has been a resurgence of interest in the study of self perceptions. There appear to be good reasons for that interest, because self-concept (self-description) and self-esteem/self-worth (evaluation of the goodness or worth inherent in the self-description) are clearly linked to mental health (Fox, 1990; Sonstroem & Morgan, 1989) and motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1995).

Following White's (1959) seminal work on effectance, or competence motivation, there has been much research on identifying the content and structure of people's self-profile systems and much interest in the antecedents and correlates of those self-systems. Of particular note has been Harter's research on how specific areas of self-competence or adequacy develop during childhood and adolescence and how those specific perceptions relate to the more global perceptions of worth characteristic of younger children. Harter (1982, 1985) developed instrumentation to measure specific and global self-perceptions for children and young adolescents. Of the five specific subcomponents in Harter's battery, two tapped perceptions in the physical domain - specifically, subscales constructed to measure perceptions of athletic competence and physical appearance.

There has been considerable further research on evaluating self-perceptions in the physical domain. The work of Fox and Corbin (1989) and Fox (1990) was the first to provide further insight into the content of physical self-esteem, and their research led to the construction and validation of the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP). Working with college students, Fox and Corbin (1989) used extensive qualitative open-ended techniques to initially identify four subdomains that explained most of the variance in a global perception of physical self-esteem (body attractiveness adequacy, sport competence, strength competence, and physical condition adequacy). Quantitative procedures were then used to establish further evidence of the reliability and validity of the PSPP scales. Most recently, Marsh, Richards, Johnson, Roche, and Tremayne (1994) named (and provided validity evidence for) nine subdomain areas based on a factor analysis of physical fitness test scores of Australian school students ages 9-15 years.

The PSPP has already been widely used, but as Fox (1990) and Fox and Corbin (1989) pointed out, a limitation of the instrument was that its roots were in the college student age group - and, thus, they recommended further work with different age groups. Accordingly, Whitehead and Corbin (1988) began with a pilot study of an adapted PSPP for seventh and eighth grade students, and this initial work was continued by Whitehead (1995) with a further validation study of that version of the PSPP (henceforth referred to as the Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile, or CY-PSPP).(1)

Contemporaneous with the publication of Whitehead's initial validation of the CY-PSPP was a study testing it with adolescent athletes by Welk, Corbin, and Lewis (1995). Although the latter study also supported the validity of the CY-PSPP, neither it nor Whitehead's analyses used confirmatory factor analysis techniques to examine the structural relationships among the CY-PSPP scales or their factorial validity.

Thus, the purpose of the present study was to further test the CY-PSPP by using confirmatory factor analysis. The seventh and eighth grade participants from the Welk et al. (1995) sample were combined with Whitehead's (1995) sample for a larger analysis. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the use of confirmatory factor analysis would add to previous evidence supporting a hierarchical global-to-specific domain structure and the factorial validity of the scales.



A total of 642 seventh and eighth grade students (308 girls, 334 boys) provided data for this study. Most of the sample (459) were from three junior high schools in North Dakota, and a smaller contingent (183) were seventh and eighth grade student athletes from schools in Arizona. …

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