Are all domains created equal? An exploration of stakeholder views on the concept of physical literacy

Sarahjane Belton, Sinead Connolly, Cameron Peers, Hannah Goss, Marie H Murphy, Elaine Murtagh, Jennifer Kavanagh, Méabh Corr, Kyle Ferguson, Wesley O'Brien

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Abstract

Background: Developing physical literacy at population levels provides a transformative appeal for those working in sport, health, education, recreation and physical activity settings. Interdisciplinary approaches to development of policy in this area is recommended. The purpose of this study was to gather empirical data from key stakeholders working with young people in areas related to physical literacy across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, to capture their current understanding and awareness of the physical literacy to help inform the development of the first all-island consensus statement for physical literacy.

Methods: A total of 1,241 participants (52% male), from a range of stakeholder groups (health, physical activity, sport, recreation and education) completed a researcher developed physical literacy questionnaire. A one-way MANOVA was carried out to investigate differences across stakeholder grouping in terms of perceived importance of three domains of physical literacy. Overlap of independent confidence intervals was analysed to determine importance of the physical literacy domains within stakeholder grouping.

Results: A majority (63%) of respondents indicated they were aware of an existing definition of physical literacy, but this varied by stakeholder group (e.g. 86% for higher education, versus 47% of coaches). Participants working in higher education (69%), or working as physical education specialists (67%), were more likely to rate themselves as experts or near experts in physical literacy, while coaches, education generalists, and decision makers were more likely rate themselves as having no expertise (9%, 12% and 12% respectively). Non-specialist teachers and physical education teachers rated the importance of all domains of physical literacy significantly higher than decision makers, and significantly higher than coaches in the cognitive and affective domains. All stakeholders significantly rated the importance of the physical/psychomotor domain of physical literacy higher than the affective or cognitive domains of physical literacy.

Conclusions: Differences observed across stakeholder groups underline the importance of developing a shared vision for physical literacy, and the need to clarify and gain consensus on a definition of the term and its domains. Engaging and understanding the voice of stakeholders is critical in ensuring the relevance, ownership of and commitment to physical literacy statement operationalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number501
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
Issue number1
Early online date15 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

The all-island physical literacy project was commissioned by Sport Ireland, and Sport Northern Ireland through funding provided by the dormant accounts fund (Republic of Ireland) and the Department for Communities (Northern Ireland).

Keywords

  • Children
  • Consensus statement
  • Young people
  • Physical literacy
  • Physical activity
  • Physical education

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