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Open AccessArticle

What Keeps Them Physically Active? Predicting Physical Activity, Motor Competence, Health-Related Fitness, and Perceived Competence in Irish Adolescents after the Transition from Primary to Second-Level School

1
School of Health & Human Performance, Faculty of Science & Health, Dublin City University, D09 V209 Dublin 9, Ireland
2
School of Education, Social Sciences & Law, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8 Dublin 4, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082874
Received: 4 April 2020 / Revised: 13 April 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 21 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Physical Activity and Public Health)
Physical activity (PA) decreases with age. The school transition is noted for significant changes in PA behaviour. Motor competence (MC), health-related fitness (HRF), and perceived competence (PC) are generally positively associated with PA. The aim of this study was to examine longitudinal cross-lagged relationships between PA, MC, HRF, and PC across the school transition from final year of primary school to first year of second-level school in Irish youth. PA (accelerometery), object-control and locomotor MC (TGMD-III), PC (perceived athletic competence subscale of the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents), and HRF (20 m shuttle run, horizontal jump, vertical jump, push-ups, curl-ups) were measured in final year of primary school (6th class) and first year of second-level school (1st year). In the sixth class, 261 participants (53% female; mean age 12.22 ± 0.48 years) were tested. In first year, 291 participants (48% female; mean age: 13.20 ± 0.39 years) were tested. In total, 220 participants were involved in the study at both timepoints. Cross-lagged regression in AMOS23, using full information maximum likelihood estimation, was conducted to test reciprocal and predictive pathways between variables. The full cross-lagged model showed acceptable fit (χ2 = 69.12, df = 8, p < 0.01, NFI = 0.93, CFI = 0.94). HRF was the strongest predictor of future PA (β = 0.353), and also predicted PC (β = 0.336) and MC (β = 0.163). Object-control MC predicted future PA (β = 0.192). Reciprocal relationships existed between object-control MC and PA, and between object-control MC and PC. HRF was the strongest predictor of PA. Object-control MC also predicted PA. PA promotion strategies should target the development of HRF and object-control MC in primary school to reduce the decline in PA frequently observed after the school transition. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; motor competence; health-related fitness; perceived competence; school transition; youth physical activity; motor competence; health-related fitness; perceived competence; school transition; youth
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Britton, U.; Issartel, J.; Symonds, J.; Belton, S. What Keeps Them Physically Active? Predicting Physical Activity, Motor Competence, Health-Related Fitness, and Perceived Competence in Irish Adolescents after the Transition from Primary to Second-Level School. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2874.

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