Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

The role of physical activity in child's social development in late childhood

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.10.00  Social sciences  Sport   

Code Science Field
S273  Social sciences  Physical training, motorial learning, sport 
physical activity, late childhood, integrated development, social development, free time, relations with peers, relations with parents/teachers, academic achievement, internal factors of academic achievement
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  23480  PhD Joca Zurc  Educational studies  Head  2007 - 2008  763 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,685 
The project brings to the fore the research of the role of physical activity in a child's social development, emphasising the correlation between physical activity and development of social skills, such as peer relations, student-teacher relation and academic performance. Physical activity represents an important external factor of the child’s advancement in all fields of development (physical, motor, cognitive, emotional and social). According to the theory of comprehensive development (Ismail, 1976), all these fields of development are closely related to one another, with the physical activity equally affecting all of them. The role of physical activity has to date been most frequently and thoroughly studied in the context of physical and motor development, while the remaining development fields remain from research viewpoint more undertreated – this is especially true with regard to research in the field of the role of physical activity on the development of child social skills. The present research focuses on children in late childhood developmental period, when their entering the school system is connected with an intensive development of social skills. The most important elements of the social development of this period are peer relations, the relation with the “significant other” (meaning, the teacher) and academic performance or more precisely, the capacity to express one’s knowledge and behaviours in an interaction with others. The set theoretical hypotheses are being verified by an empirical research based on a representative sample (of minimum 750 units) of Slovene 4th, 5th and 6th graders from the 9-year elementary schools (aged between 9 and 11). The physical activity of the children will be studied on the basis of a questionnaire (frequency, form and contents of the activities), composed on the basis of research to date. In the framework of social development, we intend to study the level of development of selected social skills by means of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) questionnaire (Gresham and Elliott, 1990). The data will be processed by univariate and multivariate statistical methods. The purpose of the study is to find out the share of physical activity by frequency, form and contents per individual social skill in children of the second education and schooling cycle. Simultaneously with the developments in the research, the findings will be published in scientific and technical periodicals and presented at symposiums, round tables, workshops and teacher conventions.
Significance for science
The results of the project contribute to the development of Slovene kinesiology science and its establishment in Europe. In fact, the research project was focusing on the social science aspect of kinesiology, which is in Slovenia still a less researched area. The previous kinesiology studies treating of children focused on the role of physical activity for physical development and on an analysis of the motor space structure. The performed project brought to the fore the urgency of studying the role of physical activities also in other fields of development, on which physical activity exerts an equal influence. The project has established a starting-point for the development of this aspect of kinesiology science in the Slovene area, as well as a contribution to the progress of this science in Europe. Since this research project was introducing to Slovenia for the first time the opportunity for studying correlation between physical activity and social development, the study of such correlation also has relevance in terms of methodology. For the purposes of assessing the level of social skill development was used the assessment instrument called “Social Skills Rating System” (Gresham and Elliot). This widely recognised and used means of assessing child’s social skills has been used and standardized for the first time in Slovenia. Since in Slovenia there has been no test available for assessing the level of development of children’s social skills in the late childhood period, the introduction of the SSRS represents a scientific contribution to the science field of assessing child’s social development. In Slovenia, there is a longitudinal study being conducted since 1974 on the topic of sports-recreational habits of the adult population in the Republic of Slovenia. Throughout its more than 30-year history, the study has been collecting data on the frequency, form and contents of leisure time activities of the Slovene population of over 18 years of age. Unfortunately, there are no such longitudinal data concerning children, in whom the physical activity is still more important for the development. With an aim of establishing strong base for longitudinal investigation, the postdoctoral research includes physical activity of a representative sample of 1783 Slovene children from the second schooling cycle of elementary school. The results provide an insight into the current participation of Slovene 9-, 10- and 11-year-old children in physical activity. A creation and standardization of a quality assessment instrument on the leisure-time physical activity habits of children, which in Slovenia didn’t exist yet, represents an important contribution to the development of longitudinal study and assessment of characteristics of the physical activity of Slovene children. The postdoctoral research contributes to the development of education science as well. Studies of social skills and physical activity open important questions in the field of academic performance. In year 2000 we have on a sample of 2023 10-year-old children attending elementary schools in the Gorenjska region established positive correlations between frequency and forms of leisure time physical activity participation on the one side and general academic performance on the other. Seven years later on a representative sample of the 1783 Slovene child population between 9 and 11 years of age we found out identical conclusions. Child’s academic performance and physical activity are statistically significant connected in positive trend. In addition to its importance for the development of social sciences in Slovenia and their affirmation in a wider European region, the project has of great significance also for the development of other sciences – such as medicine, psychology, anthropology – involved in the study of children, their developmental laws and properties with the purpose of ensuring a child the harmonious development in childhood and a quality of life in adulthood.
Significance for the country
The knowledge of the characteristics of child behavior and factors affecting it is of exceptional importance to anyone working with children. The results obtained are there to use first and foremost in the education and schooling practicing profession. The data are accessible to the highest political and professional bodies in the field of education, schooling and sports in Slovenia. Their purpose is to be helpful in the making of decisions concerning the school curriculum, especially the curriculum development in the second cycle of the education and schooling period, the planning of school physical education and the rise of child’s physical and sports activity. To this same purpose, the results are also accessible to other teachers in leisure time activities whose work involves children. Our aim is to help them make decisions about including physical activities in their education and schooling processes. The transposed test on the social skills of children is available for use by teachers, psychologists and other experts in the Slovene school system with the purpose of discovering possible deficiencies in the social development and behavior manner of children. The preparation of a standardized questionnaire on the physical activity of children is enable for the use of such an assessment instrument also in further longitudinal studies. Finally, the results are also of use to the media in their promotion of physical activity participation for human development and health by Slovene residents. The cognisance of the current status of physical activity enables its assessment and possibility to intervene accordingly in terms of physical activity quantity, frequency and quality. We wish with the results to reach the parents and help them by planning of child’s education and encourage them to include their child in leisure time physical activities. The obtained scientific acquisitions of new knowledge on the role of physical activity in child’s social development indicate original contribution to the Slovene science and therefore present the fundamental base of knowledge to students from the kinesiology, educational, pedagogic, psychology, sociology, medicine and anthropology sectors.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Views history