Physical self-perceptions and participation in physical activities among Greek adolescents

Besbea, Rebecca

January 1999

Thesis or dissertation

© 1999 Rebecca Besbea. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The study investigated the physical self concepts and the physical activity levels and patterns of a sample of Greek adolescents. It also provided information about the associations between physical self concepts and physical activity participation. The sample consisted of 405 Greek adolescents (207 boys and 198 girls) aged 14 to 15. The PSDQ instrument (Marsh et aI., 1994) was chosen to measure the physical self-concepts and the Four by One-Day Recall questionnaire (Cale, 1993) to measure the physical activity levels and patterns of the adolescents. Analyses of responses were used to explore the sample's physical self-concept and physical activity responses for gender groups separately. An examination of the relationship between physical self-concept and physical activity was conducted using correlation analyses, M-W tests between activity groups and multiple regression analysis. In order to examine the direction of the relationship an extension of the linear regression analyses and the development and test of two structural equation models was conducted.

Analyses of the physical self-perceptions showed that boys had slightly higher self-concepts than girls. Zero-order and partial correlation coefficients, principal and confirmatory factor analyses provided support to the existence of a multidimensional and a hierarchical organisation of self perceptions in the physical domain. The fmdings supported the Shavelson et al., (1976) model of differentiated physical concepts and indicated that the self concept hierarchy is probably more complicated than originally anticipated.

Results indicated low activity levels in the adolescents' physical activity involvement. Boys were more active than girls, and adolescents were more physically active on weekdays than at weekends. A daily average of about 2 hours of activity was revealed. Only a small percentage of the sample (23%) was engaged in Moderate and Hard activities. A stereotypical profile for the two genders over the patterns of physical activities, and a lack of variety of activities was also evident. In a second phase of the study, interviews were used to a small size sample to confirm the validity of the questionnaire findings and to explore the current activities and opportunities for adolescents physical activity involvement.

Findings indicated that self-perception scores were related to amount of physical activity participation and were able to distinguish between groups of Active and Inactive individuals. The correlation analyses provided evidence that self-perceptions are significantly related to the types of chosen activities. Physically active individuals had significantly higher scores on physical self-concept scales and active males were significantly higher in perceived physical self-concepts than active females. Testing for the direction of the relationship between physical self perceptions and participation in physical activities, no causal relationship was found between the two variables.

Institute for Learning, The University of Hull
Moore, J. L.
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