Background: Self-concept, which refers to one's beliefs towards their personal worth and capabilities, is a predictor of mental health and well-being. Research suggests that, independently, higher perceptions of grit, and regular engagement in physical activity (PA) can lead to positive perceptions of self. While research has examined these direct relationships, how all three variables work together in predicting self-concept in children and adolescents remains limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether PA plays a mediating and/or moderating role on the relationship between grit and self-concept.
Methods: Participants (N = 362, 186 girls, Mage = 11.70 ± 1.30) in the current study were part of a larger study examining the impact of a daily classroom PA program on aspects of psychosocial well-being. Baseline data is presented here. Grit, PA, and self-concept (i.e., self-esteem and mastery) were measured using validated questionnaires. Mediating/moderating effects of PA on the relationship between grit and self-concept were examined using the PROCESS macro in SPSS v24.
Results: Results showed that PA moderated the relationship between grit and self-esteem (b[SE] = 0.22[0.09], p = .01), but not between grit and mastery (p > .05). PA did not mediate the relationship between grit and self-esteem (effect = 0.03, 95%CI: -0.02-0.08) or mastery (effect = 0.01, 95%CI: -0.01-0.03).
Conclusion: This study highlights the important role of PA in the relationship between grit and enhanced self-esteem. The results suggest that both grit and PA could be areas of intervention to improve self-concept in children and adolescents.
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