Predictors of physical activity in early adolescence: the contribution of physical fitness and physical self-concept
Tuesday, 07 September 2021 14:43
Snežana Radisavljević Janić, Ljiljana B. Lazarević, Dušanka Lazarević, Ivana Milanović.
Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Belgrade;
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade.

indent Abstract
Vast empirical evidence suggests a high significance of physical activity (PA) for health and well-being. Still, researches show a decline of PA in youth worldwide. Early adolescence is a particularly sensitive period because then children adopt healthy habits and build a positive attitude towards PA. Examining the significance and contribution of potential factors to overall PA in early adolescence is of theoretical and practical relevance. Thus, this study aimed to explore the validity of physical fitness and physical self-concept in the prediction of overall PA in early adolescence, taking into account gender and Body Mass Index (BMI). The sample consisted of 417 primary school students (54.9% boys), the average age 13.6 years (SD=0.73) who participate in regular physical education classes three times per week, each class 45 minutes. Physical self-concept was measured using the Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ). To assess everyday physical activity, we used the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A). Anthropometric measurements included the body height and bodyweight of the respondents. Physical fitness, i.e., flexibility, muscular strength (abdominal endurance strength and lower-limb explosive strength), and cardiorespiratory endurance were measured using the EUROFIT test battery. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that physical self-concept predicts 35% of the variance of PA over and above gender and dimensions of physical fitness. Significant predictors of physical activity were dimensions of physical self-concept: Physical Activity, Sports Competence, and Endurance. The interaction of Gender and Self Esteem contributed significantly indicating that higher Self Esteem had a significant role in the level of PA only in male adolescents. The main finding is that physical self-concept plays a crucial role in the prediction of the level of overall PA in which early adolescents will be engaged. The results support findings showing that intervention programs aimed to improve PA should encourage positive physical self-concept of adolescents with appropriate content and procedures.


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