Playing active video games may not develop movement skills: an intervention trial

Lisa Barnett, Nicola Ridgers, John Reynolds, Lisa Hanna, Jo Salmon

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To investigate the impact of playing sports Active Video Games on children s actual and perceived object control skills. Methods: Intervention children played Active Video Games for 6. weeks (1. h/week) in 2012. The Test of Gross Motor Development-2 assessed object control skill. The Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence assessed perceived object control skill. Repeated measurements of object control and perceived object control were analysed for the whole sample, using linear mixed models, which included fixed effects for group (intervention or control) and time (pre and post) and their interaction. The first model adjusted for sex only and the second model also adjusted for age, and prior ball sports experience (yes/no). Seven mixed-gender focus discussions were conducted with intervention children after programme completion. Results: Ninety-five Australian children (55 girls; 43 intervention group) aged 4 to 8. years (M 6.2, SD 0.95) participated. Object control skill improved over time (p=0.006) but there was no significant difference (p=0.913) between groups in improvement (predicted means: control 31.80 to 33.53, SED=0.748; intervention 30.33 to 31.83, SED=0.835). A similar result held for the second model. Similarly the intervention did not change perceived object control in Model 1 (predicted means: control: 19.08 to 18.68, SED=0.362; intervention 18.67 to 18.88, SED=0.406) or Model 2. Children found the intervention enjoyable, but most did not perceive direct equivalence between Active Video Games and real life activities. Conclusions: Whilst Active Video Game play may help introduce children to sport, this amount of time playing is unlikely to build skill.
Original languageEnglish
Article number136
Pages (from-to)673 - 678
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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