“Putting” in the effort: Effects of gender on psychosocial outcomes of paired practice in a golf-putting task


The efficiency of motor learning can be increased through paired practice, in which observation and physical performance are interspersed. Paired practice in motor learning contexts may also yield psychosocial benefits, including enhanced motivation, self-efficacy, and positive affect. Previous research has evaluated these advantages in relation to factors such as competition, goal-setting, or reduced self-conscious emotions through engaging in interdependent dyadic roles. However, gender influences on psychosocial outcomes of dyadic motor learning have not been examined. The current study investigated effects of gender on motivation, efficacy, and affect in paired practice of a golf-putting task. It was hypothesized that matched-gender pairs would show more positive psychosocial outcomes compared to mixed-gender pairs. Furthermore, the effects of dyad composition (mixed versus matched-gender pairs) may differ between females and males. 79 novice participants (14 female-female pairs, 7 male-male pairs, 19 female-male pairs) completed individual putting tests before and after paired practice, where physical practice and observation alternated for 5 blocks of 20 trials. Following paired practice, the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and self-efficacy, other-efficacy, and relation-inferred efficacy scales were completed. Males scored higher overall on relation-inferred efficacy. Additionally, in mixed-gender dyads, males scored higher than females (non-significant interaction trend; p = .052) on the IMI effort/importance subscale. These findings indicate that psychosocial outcomes of motor skill acquisition may be more influenced by paired practice and gender matching in males than in females. The relationship between psychosocial measures and motor performance will be explored in further analysis.