Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Children's Perceived Competence and Participation in Recess Activities

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Children's Perceived Competence and Participation in Recess Activities

Article excerpt

A. Brian Nielsen, Sarah E. Hilton, Janice Causgrove-Dunn, and E. Jane Watkinson, University of Alberta

Several theoretical models identify perceived competence as a mediator of future choice of participation and persistence in activity (Eccles et al., 1983; Harter, 1978). Research with children has been conducted primarily in academic and formal sports settings where actual choice maybe somewhat influenced by parental or contextual restrictions in which the activity takes place. Such research may not accurately reflect the variable of free choice. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between children's perceptions of competence and importance and actual engagement on a variety of playground activities during recess. A secondary purpose was to determine the stability of perceptions of competence. Gender differences were also investigated. Seven boys and seven girls in grades 3 and 4 participated in the study. Perceptions of competence and importance were assessed for 54 potential activities three times over a 3-post period. Activities actually engaged in were assessed twice daily through the use of a self-report form completed immediately after each of 24 recess periods using procedures described by Watkinson and Gausgrove-Dunn (2000). The validity of self-reports were checked against actual observations. Repeated measures analyses of variance with follow-up dependent and independent t tests were used to analyze relationships between perceptions of competence and degree of activity engagement. …

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