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Physical Activity and Physical Self-Concept in Adolescence: A Comparison of Girls at the Extremes of the Biological Maturation Continuum


  • This research was supported by Grant #SG-46063 from The British Academy, entitled “Relations Between Biological Maturation, Exercise Behavior, and Psychological Health in British Adolescents.” Sean Cumming and Martyn Standage are part of the Sport, Health and Exercise Science Research Group, Department for Health, University of Bath, U.K.; Catherine Gammon is a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology at Michigan State University, U.S.A.; Lauren Sherar is part of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of Loughborough, U.K.

  • Robert Malina is Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and a Research Professor with Tarleton State University, Texas, U.S.A.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Sean P. Cumming, Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY. E-mail:


This study examined differences in physical activity and physical self-concept between the least and most biologically mature female adolescents within chronological age and academic year groups. A total of 252 British female adolescents (M age = 12.9 years; SD = .7) in Years 7–9 completed self-report measures to assess physical activity and physical self-concept. Percentage of predicted adult (mature) stature served as the index of biological maturation. Univariate analyses of covariance, controlling for decimal age, revealed that the least mature girls generally held higher perceptions of physical self-concept but were no more, or less, active than the most mature girls. A subsequent meta-analysis suggested, however, that across age and year groups the least mature girls were more active than the most mature girls.