Title

Motor Skills and Social Skills In Elementary School Children

Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Charlotte Humphries

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between a child's self-perceived social skills and actual selected locomotor and object control skill performance. The Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) and the Social Skills Rating System ( SSRS ): Student Form were administered to 123 elementary students in grades 3-5. Total raw scores as well as subscores for locomotor skills and object control skill were calculated. The SSRS: Student Form provided a total score and subscores for cooperation, assertion, self-control and empathy. A significant positive correlation was found between motor skills and social skills for all third graders (r = .429), third grade boys (r = .616), and third grade girls (.399). Significant correlations between locomotor skills and social skills were found for all boys (r = .338), all third graders (r = .393), and all third grade boys (r = .505). Significant correlations between object control skills and social skills were found for all third graders (r = .309) and third grade girls (r = .389). Significant correlations were found between cooperation and motor skills for all boys (r = .371), all third graders (r = .361), and all third grade boys (r = .624). Significant correlations were found between assertion and motor skills for all subjects (r = .209), all boys (r = .538), all third graders ( r = .419), and third grade boys. Significant correlations between empathy and motor skills were found for all third graders (r = .419), third grade boys (r = .461) and third grade girls (r = .450). There were no significant correlations between self-control and motor skills. The differences in correlations for boys and girls could be attributed to the typical play of boys which may differ from the games played by girls. For third graders, activities involving motor skills may be a more important source of socialization for boys than for girls. As students mature they may engage in less physical play for socialization. Fourth and fifth graders may have found other means to hone social skills and have friendships that do not involve physical play.