The purpose of this paper was to investigate whether physical self-efficacy mediates the relationship between movement competence (fundamental movement skills and perceived movement skill competence) and physical activity in children.
A purposive sample of 860 children (47.7% female, 10.9 ± 1.16 years) were recruited and completed assessments for physical self-efficacy (Physical Activity Self-Efficacy Scale), fundamental movement skills (Test of Gross Motor Development-3), perceived movement skill competence (Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence), and physical activity (PACE+). A bootstrap mediation analysis was employed using movement competence as the predictor variable and physical activity as the outcome variable, and physical self-efficacy as the potential mediator of the relationship.
The results from a bootstrap mediation analysis yielded a statistically significant mediation effect for physical self-efficacy, with the entire model explaining approximately 10.3% of the variance of physical activity. The indirect effect of perceived movement skill competence through physical self-efficacy was significantly larger than the indirect effect of fundamental movement skills through physical self-efficacy. Neither sex nor age acted as a covariate.
Movement competence (fundamental movement skills and perceived movement skill competence) acts as a source of information for children’s physical self-efficacy, moreover physical self-efficacy mediates the movement competence – PA relationship. Findings highlight the need for interventions to target and improve movement competence as a whole for children.