Body image is viewed as the picture people have in their minds of the size, shape and form of their bodies, together the feelings concerning these characteristics and body parts. In bodily self-perception, therefore, besides anatomical and physiological aspects, cognitive and emotional components influence subjective experience. The aim of the present study was to analyse the relationship among body image, physical self-efficacy and motor abilities in 160 subjects aged 8 and 10 years (40 males and 40 females of each age), and to check possible differences by gender and age.This study was designed to assess age and gender differences in some motor abilities, body discrepancy, and physical self-efficacy. Results by gender confirm that males showed a higher perceived physical ability than females , but do not support previous research indicating the existence of gender differences in Body Discrepancy.. Males are usually more involved than girls in motor activities and sport, with greater opportunities to develop physical abilities and skills, increasing perceptions of their competence as a consequence. Nevertheless gender differences in perceived physical abilties may reflect the different socio-cultural stereotyped perception, which induces females to perceive themselves as less skillful than males.Stereotyped beliefs regarding males and females may thus play a role in the context of the relations linking psychological factors and performance, and may influence attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in significant ways. For instance, it was found that boys value sports and believe in their sport abilities more than girls. Other research has also pointed out that girls are less likely to participate in activities promoting the development of motor skills associated with sports.As far as age was concerned, in the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale the 10-yr.-old subjects rated themselves higher than younger children. Perceptions of physical competence of pupils aged 10 are problably congruent with their actual competence given the increased cognitive maturity of accurately estimating their ability. Regarding body image, the significant differences by age found are problably correlate with physiological characteristics of children, such as body mass and maturational status.In light of the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, and the concomitant becoming thinner of the aesthetic ideal, longitudinal research should investigate the relationships between physical performance and perceptual, attitudinal, and behavioral components in obese and non-obese children. Additional studies should be designed to analyze whether type, quality and quantity of childhood sport practice are able to determine significant differences in psychological constructs.
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