Utilising Harter's theory of competence motivation (Harter, S. The determinants and mediational role of global self-worth in children. In: N. Eisenberg, Contemporary topics in developmental psychology, Wiley, New York, 1987, pp. 219-242.), the current study examined perceived competence and social support, and their influence on self-worth and anxiety in children and adolescents with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD). A group of children aged 8-10 years, and a group of adolescents aged 12-14 years, with significant movement problems were compared with matched control groups on measures of perceived competence, perceived social support, self-worth and anxiety. Those with DCD were found to perceive themselves as less competent in several domains, and having less social support than control participants. Overall, DCD groups had lower self-worth and higher levels of anxiety than the control groups. Adolescents also perceived themselves as less competent with poorer social support and lower self-worth than younger children. In addition, anxiety was significantly higher for the adolescent group compared to their younger counterparts.
School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth 6845, WA, Australia.