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The assessment of stressors and resilience in secondary school physical education

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posted on 08.01.2018, 16:32 by Kate E. Tudor
PE lessons are a unique context to address the declining levels of physical activity in the UK, offering the opportunity for students to achieve age appropriate physical activity recommendations. Therefore, it is imperative that researchers and practitioners understand variables that underpin students motivational processes in PE lessons. Psychological resilience refers to the idea that some individuals are able to positively adapt to the stressors they encounter. Conceptual theorisers of resilience propose that the concept comprises three constructs: stressors, positive adaptation, and protective factors. The purpose of the thesis is to focus on the first construct of stressors: which may be major life events, or the minor and cumulative demands of everyday life. Specifically, the current thesis aims to develop a measure of stressors in the context of PE lessons within the wider framework of resilience. The thesis is split into five chapters. The first chapter overviews the importance of facilitating motivation and engagement in PE lessons, and introduces the concept of resilience to stressors. Chapter two is split into three parts and comprises three reviews: the first provides an overview of the definitions, concepts, and theoretical models of academic resilience; the second is a systematic review of the approaches to measuring academic resilience and; the third presents a narrative review of daily stressors experienced by adolescents. Chapter three presents the first two studies of this programme of research. Study one is a qualitative exploration of the common stressors experienced by secondary school students during their PE lessons. Underpinned by the concept of resilience, study two explores the protective factors students utilise to facilitate their positive adaptation to these everyday stressors. Drawing on the reviews presented in chapter two, and the qualitative exploration of stressors in PE, chapter four presents a series of studies describing the development of the PE Experiences Questionnaire (PEEQ). Specifically, study three explores the content validity of a pool of items designed to reflect common stressors in PE lessons. Study four examines the factorial structure of the PEEQ using exploratory factor analysis, and study five tests the factorial structure of the PEEQ using confirmatory factor analysis. Study six tests the factorial structure on an independent sample, examines whether it is invariant across gender, and tests the relationship between the PEEQ and related educational constructs. Overall, the current programme of research has advanced the field of educational psychology by providing greater understanding of the potential stressors experienced during PE lessons, and the dynamic processes by which students respond.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Kate Tudor

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.