Original research| Volume 23, ISSUE 10, P955-961, October 2020

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Youth motor competence promotion model: a quantitative investigation into modifiable factors



      This study aimed to quantify the relationships between enabling, predisposing and reinforcing ecological factors on motor competence and investigate potential sex, weight status, and school level differences.


      Data were collected from 429 children (52% boys; aged 11.1 ± 0.6 years; 87% white British). Cardiorespiratory fitness (20 m Multistage Shuttle Run), muscular strength (Handgrip Strength) and online questionnaire (Child Health and Activity Tool; CHAT) data on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, sport participation and available surrounding physical activity facilities were included as enabling variables. Three predisposing variables were determined from self-report data on benefits/barriers to exercise, adequacy, and predilection. Parental/guardian physical activity levels and persons whom participate in physical activity and sport with the participant (CHAT) were selected as reinforcing variables. Motor competence was determined from cumulative scores for Dragon Challenge tasks (Balance Bench, Core Agility, Wobble Spot, Overarm Throw, Basketball Dribble, Catch, Jumping Patterns, T-Agility, Sprint). Confirmatory Factor Analysis assessed the fit of measured variables into latent factors. Structural equation modelling evaluated relationships between these latent factors.


      Motor competence was directly affected by the enabling factor (β = 0.50,p < 0.001) but indirectly affected by reinforcing and predisposing factors, mediated by the enabling factor (β=0.13, p = 0.014; β=0.25, p = 0.002). Multi-group comparisons showed that each of these effects did not differ by sex, weight status or school level (p > 0.05).


      This study demonstrated that enabling factors are crucial for the development of motor competence. This is the first study to quantify an ecological model with motor competence as the endogenous variable and is key to future interventions.


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