Does Perception of Motor Competence Mediate Associations between Motor Competence and Physical Activity in Early Years Children?

Sports (Basel). 2019 Apr 1;7(4):77. doi: 10.3390/sports7040077.


Objectives: To examine if the relationship between physical activity (PA) and actual motor competence (MC) in British early years children is mediated by their perceived MC.

Design: Cross-sectional convenience observational study.

Methodology: MC was assessed with six locomotor skills (LC) and six object-control skills (OC) via the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. PA was measured via a wrist-worn triaxial accelerometer and PA grouped as daily total PA (TPA) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). Perceived MC was assessed using the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Acceptance for Young Children. A total of 38 children (63% male; 37% female) aged between 3 and 6 years (5.41 ± 0.69) completed all assessments. Mediating impacts of perceived MC on the relationships between PA and MC were explored via backwards mediation regressions.

Results: There were no mediating impacts of perceived MC on the relationship between PA and actual MC.

Conclusions: The relationship between actual MC and PA is not mediated by perceived MC in a small sample of British early years childhood.

Keywords: children; motor competence; perceived motor competence; physical activity; preschool; young.