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Title: The effects of interventions on fundamental movement skills, physical activity and psychological well-being among children
Author: Foweather, Lawrence
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2010
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A large proportion of UK children do not meet the recommended guidelines for participation in physical activity, which is a public health concern as the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is rising. Increasing perceptions of competence and levels of fundamental movement skill proficiency are potential strategies to promote physical activity. The aims of this thesis were to, a) investigate the prevalence of skill proficiency and levels of perceived physical competence in UK children, b) examine the relationships between fundamental movement skill competence and physical self-perceptions with children's physical activity, fitness and body fatness, and c) determine the effectiveness of non-curricular interventions to increase fundamental movement skills and enhance perceptions of competence. The first stage of research presented is the cross-sectional study of 152 children (41% boys; Age mean 9.7?0.3 years), which were recruited from 8 primary schools. Children completed the Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile (CYPSPP) and were assessed on 8 skills using video-analysis and process measures. In addition, cardiorespiratory fitness was directly measured during a treadmill protocol to exhaustion; body fat (%) was determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; and physical activity was assessed by accelerometers over 7 days. The results revealed that children generally had positive perceptions of their physical self. However, levels of physical self-perceptions did not significantly predict physical activity behaviour. Perceptions of physical condition and physical strength were weak predictors of cardiorespiratory fitness and percent body fat, collectively explaining 7% and 7.8% of variance. Children's perceptions of competence were not related to their actual competence levels. Prevalence of proficiency in fundamental movement skills was low-to-moderate in boys and low in girls. Chi-square tests revealed a significantly (P < 0.01) higher proportion of boys were rated as proficient than girls in the kick (x = 37.4), catch (x = 25.3), strike (x = 28.4) and throw (x = 44.1). Total skill score significantly (P < 0.01) accounted for 11% and 9.2% of the variance in physical activity and percent total body fat, respectively. Locomotor skills significantly (P<0.01) predicted 7.7% of unique variance in moderate-to vigorous physical activity, 5.6% of total physical activity, 13.4% of cardiorespiratory fitness, and 23.7% of variance in percent body fat. Object-control skills weakly predicted total body fat (2%; P=0.04) but did not account for variance in other outcomes. This study highlighted the importance of fundamental movement skills to children's health and identified the need for interventions to enhance skill competence in older children. The next stage of research sought to determine the efficacy of interventions to increase skill competence and physical self-perceptions. An exploratory study examined the effects of a 9 week afterschool multi-skills club on skill proficiency, physical self-perceptions and body mass index (BMI) in 8-9 year old children. Two schools were randomly assigned to either a comparison (n = 15) or multi-skill club (n = 19) group. The multi-skill club received 18 coaching sessions designed to improve movement skills, while the comparison group followed normal routines. Children completed the CY-PSPP and assessments of seven movement skills, and were measured for stature and mass to calculate BMI. It was found that children in the multi-skill club had higher BMI (P<0.05) and possibly lower perceptions of body attractiveness and physical condition than children in the comparison group at post-test. Participation in the multi-skill club delivered significant (P<0.01) improvements in proficiency at post-test in static balance, whilst potentially practically important improvements were observed in performance of the catch, throw and kick skills. It was concluded that an afterschool multi-skill club offers a viable opportunity for movement skill acquisition, but any such programme would need to run for a longer duration to identify if this type of activity could benefit all skills. The final study was unique in that it was the first study to assess the impact of three different 12 month interventions on children's skill levels and perceived physical competence. One hundred and fifty-two 9-10 year old children were randomised by school to one of four conditions: a bi-weekly high-intensity physical activity afterschool club (HIPA; n=36); a bi-weekly multi-skill (fundamental movement skill) after-school club (FMS; n=37); a behaviour-modification programme (PASS; n=45); or a control-comparison (CON; n=34). Outcome measures, as employed within the cross-sectional study, were assessed at baseline, 9- and 12 months. It was found that participation in the FMS group was associated with moderate positive intervention effects on skill competence and increased the likelihood of attaining proficiency at post-test skill in 7 out of 8 skills. Participation in HIPA was associated with a small positive intervention effect on locomotor skill competence, and increased likelihood of proficiency in 5 skills, while PASS had no effect on skill competence but did increase the likelihood of attaining proficiency in 3 skills. In boys, participation in FMS and HIPA were associated with higher perceptions of sports competence, condition, and physical self-worth; HIPA elevated perceptions of strength, and, FMS increased perceived body attractiveness. PASS was associated with more positive perceptions of sports competence and body attractiveness at 9- but not 12-months. In girls, there were no positive intervention effects on CY-PSPP subscales, whilst all interventions were associated with more negative perceptions of body attractiveness. No group differences were found for body fat or physical activity, which increased from baseline to mid-test but fell sharply at post test in all conditions. Boys in HIPA improved fitness levels relative to controls, whilst girls participating in the FMS and PASS groups had lower fitness at post-test. It was concluded that multi-skill afterschool clubs are most effective at improving fundamental movement skills. Afterschool clubs may provide a means to augment boys' perceptions of competence, irrespective of activity mode; however, after-school clubs do not appear to enhance physical self-perceptions in girls. Behaviour-modification programmes appear least effective at improving actual and perceived competence, but a combined structured exercise and behaviour modification programme may be necessary to improve health outcomes. A subsequent follow-up study is required to assess long term impact of the interventions. The studies within this thesis have provided a detailed insight into the effects of different interventions on children's actual and perceived competence. To summarise, it was found that many children are not proficient at fundamental movement skills, which is important given their associations with important health outcomes. A multi-skill club programme can best impact such skills, whilst other forms of physical activity can also promote skill development. Perceptions of physical competence do not appear to have strong associations with children's health at this age. The influences of interventions on perceptions of competence appear complex and gender differences suggest that different forms of interventions may be necessary for girls.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; GV Recreation Leisure ; RC1200 Sports Medicine ; RJ101 Child Health. Child health services ; GV561 Sports