Causal Attribution And Lifestyle Of Young Adolescents

Por: Maurice Pierón, Miguel Gonzalez Valeiro e Myriam Alvarinas Villaverde.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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According to Biddle (1993) exercise adoption and maintenance may involve understanding attributional and other
interpersonal perception processes. The objectives of the study were describing the attribution and lifestyle of young
adolescents and seek attributional differences between active and passive schoolchildren.

Research Method
Subjects. Participants in the study were schoolchildren from 14 to 19 years of age (284 boys and 313 girls), most of
them from 14 to 17 years of age.
Data were collected during PE classes
Instruments. Causal attributions (ability, effort, environment and luck) were assessed through EMA questionnaire
adapted to the physical education setting by Gonzalez (1995).
The lifestyle was appraised by a questionnaire dealing with the following aspects: (1) the importance given to various
types of leisure activities and those practised by youths. (2) The practice (frequency and duration) of physical activity
and sports out-of-school sports activities unorganised or organized in sports clubs. (3) The self-perception and the
health perception are variables, which are quite important for the implementation of an active lifestyle and for inducing
a personal satisfaction (4) Motivation to participate in sport activities in relation to the goal orientations of youths (5)
The attitude of youths towards School and Physical Education.
An index of physical activities enabled assessing the global physical activity involvement and classifying subjects in
two groups: active and passive youths
. This index corresponds to the concept of the process presented at the beginning of this paper. The index was validated
in various Finish studies (Raitakari, et al., 1994).

The profile of the causal attribution in the academic success in PE showed a strong trend to link the success in PE to
effort in boys and girls. The difference according to gender was not statistically significant. There was also a trend to
attribute success in PE to ability in boys and girls. However, a higher percentage of boys consider that their ability is
responsible of their success. A higher proportion of girls than boys agreed that their failure could be due to a low ability.
The comparison according to the grade in PE showed significant differences between active and passive youths.
A higher proportion (75% Vs 25%) of passive schoolchildren failed in getting satisfying grades.
There were significant differences between active and passive youths in the causal attributions. Active participants in
sports activities made their attribution for success to effort and ability. Passive schoolchildren attributed their failure to
lack of ability (figure).

Attributional responses to academic success and failure in the physical education classes confirmed that exercisers
reported higher scores on internality and controllability and differences between exercisers and nonexercisers.

[1]. Biddle, S. (1993). Attribution research and sport psychology. In, R. Singer, M. Murphy, & K. Tennant (Eds.),
Handbook of research on sport psychology. New York: MacMillan, 437-464.
[2]. González Valeiro, M.A. (1995): Atribución causal e intervención pedagógica en el marco educativo: un estudio
centrado en el ámbito de la Educación Física.
[3]. Raitakari, O., Porkka, K., Taimela, S., Telama, R., Rasanen, L., & Vikari,J. (1994). Effects of persistent physical
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
Failure due t o lack of ef f ort
Failure due t o lack of abilit y
Success due t o ef f ort
Success due t o abilit y
Act ive
activity and inactivity on coronary risk factors in children and young adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 140
(3), 195-205.

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