Background: Physical activity declines during adolescence and strategies to combat this occurrence are both educational and public health priorities. Schools have been identified as central institutions for the promotion of physical activity among youth. While physical education is considered to be the major vehicle for physical activity promotion in the school setting, school sport provides another important opportunity to engage youth in physical activity. Little is known about students’ beliefs about the value of school sport. Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to explore the relationship between students’ beliefs about school sport, social support received during school sport and physical self-esteem in adolescents. Participants and setting: The sample included 249 adolescents (126 boys and 123 girls) from 10 secondary schools in New South Wales, Australia. The mean age of students was 14.1 (± 1.6) years. Research design: Cross-sectional. Data collection and analysis: Participants completed a detailed questionnaire assessing participation in school sport, school sport beliefs, perceived social support for school sport and physical self-esteem using the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP). Independent samples t-tests were used to examine gender and age differences and hierarchical regression was used to determine the relationship between students’ school sport beliefs, social support received during school sport and physical selfesteem. Separate analyses were conducted for boys and girls. Findings: Both boys and girls considered school sport an important opportunity to be physically active. Students believed 'enjoyment’ and selecting activities with their friends were the most important reasons for selecting school sport activities. Boys reported significantly higher levels of perceived physical strength (F = 1.58, p < 0.05), sport competence (F = 0.28, p < 0.001), physical condition (F = 0.36, p < 0.01), body attractiveness (F = 1.76, p < 0.01), and physical self-worth (F = 3.32, p < 0.05). The model predicting boys’ beliefs about school sport explained 17% of the variance (F = 4.08, p < 0.01) and the only statistically significant predictor was school sport social support (β = 0.25, p < 0.01). Similarly, school sport social support (β = 0.31, p < 0.01) was also the only significant predictor in the girls’ model which accounted for 28% of the variance in school sport beliefs (F = 6.46, p < 0.001). Discussion: Students who recognised the value of school sport also reported higher levels of social support for school sport. School sport is an ideal opportunity for the promotion of physical activity and programs may be improved with increased diversity and choice for students. Furthermore, higher levels of teacher support and modelling may contribute to improved student outcomes for school sport programs.
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Vol. 16, Issue 3, p. 237-250
This is an electronic version of an article published in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Vol. 16, Issue 3, p. 237-250. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1742-5786&volume=16&issue=3&spage=237