The relationship between physical growth, the level of activity and the development of motor skills in adolescence: Differences between children with DCD and controls

J. Visser, R.H. Geuze, A.F. Kalverboer

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This study uses a longitudinal design to explore the relationships between physical growth, motor competence and level of participation in physical activity, during the adolescent growth spurt. Thirty boys were selected, representing the range of motor competence. Out of this sample two groups were formed, eight boys with clumsy child syndrome (DCD) and 16 boys with adequate motor skills. The size of the DCD group was increased to 15 by an additional selection. During a period of 2 1/2 years, starting from the age of 11 years and six months, general motor skills were assessed half-yearly with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (ABC). Growth was measured monthly and a crude measure of level of activity was obtained with a questionnaire. Multi-level regression modelling was used to examine the relationships between these variables. Among the sample representing the whole range of motor competence, the results support the view that high velocities in physical growth are negatively related to motor competence, with high levels of activity showing a positive relationship with competence. Surprisingly, children with DCD do not seem to be affected by the growth spurt. A majority of the children with DCD catches up with controls to some extent and five even reach full competence. The results are discussed in terms of theories of both normal and atypical development. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-608
Number of pages36
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Aug-1998
EventConference on Clumsiness as Syndrome and Symptom -
Duration: 1-May-1997 → …


  • motor development
  • growth spurt
  • activity levels
  • developmental coordination disorder
  • AGE
  • SEX

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