The perceptual response to exercise of progressively increasing intensity in children aged 7–8 years: Validation of a pictorial curvilinear ratings of perceived exertion scale


  • The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Headmistress, Mrs. A. Turner, and the children from Exeter Junior School for their participation in the study. We are also extremely grateful to the most constructive and helpful comments made by the three reviewers in the preparation of this paper.

Address reprint requests to: Professor Roger Eston, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter, UK, EX1 2LU. E-mail:


This study assessed the validity of the Eston-Parfitt (E-P) curvilinear Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale and a novel marble quantity task to provide estimates of perceived exertion during cycle ergometry. Fifteen children aged 7–8 years performed a discontinuous incremental graded-exercise test, and reported exertional ratings at the end of each minute. Significant increases in physiological and perceptual data were observed with increasing work rate. The relationship between work rate and marbles was curvilinear (mean R2=.94), supporting the theoretical justification for the E-P Scale. Strong linear (R2=.93) and curvilinear (R2=.94) relationships between RPE from the E-P Scale and work rate confirmed the robustness of the E-P Scale. Valid exertional ratings may be obtained using the E-P Scale with young children. The novel marble quantity task offers an alternative method of deriving perceived exertion responses in children.