An analysis of motivation in children's sport: The role of perceived competence in participation

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Investigated the relationship of sport participation to perceived competence (PC), which is considered an important determinant of achievement motivation and behavior. 143 male and female 4th and 5th graders were given the Perceived Competence Scales (S. Harter, 1978) and were interviewed to determine their involvement in organized sport activities. They were asked to give their perceptions of competence relative to teammates, general attributions about sport outcomes, and their persistence and expectancies of future success. Participants in organized sports were higher in PC, were more persistent, and had higher expectations of future success. The causal attributions of participant Ss were ability oriented and generally supported the PC findings. Results are consistent with the statement that PC in physical skills has an important influence on the participation and motivation of children in sport contexts.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-216
JournalJournal of Sport Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1981