Influences of gender and socioeconomic status on the motor proficiency of children in the UK Academic Article uri icon


  • As the development of movement skills are so crucial to a child's involvement in lifelong physical activity and sport, the purpose of this study was to assess the motor proficiency of children aged 4-7 years (range=4.3-7.2 years), whilst considering gender and socioeconomic status. 369 children (176 females, 193 males, aged=5.96 ± 0.57 years) were assessed for fine motor precision, fine motor integration, manual dexterity, bilateral co-ordination, balance, speed and agility, upper-limb co-ordination and strength. The average standard score for all participants was 44.4 ± 8.9, classifying the participants towards the lower end of the average score. Multivariate analysis of covariance identified significant effects for gender (p<0.001) and socioeconomic status (p<0.001). Females outperformed males for fine motor skills and boys outperformed girls for catch and dribble gross motor skills. High socioeconomic status significantly outperformed middle and/or low socioeconomic status for total, fine and gross motor proficiency. Current motor proficiency of primary children aged 4-7 years in the UK is just below average with differences evident between gender and socioeconomic status. Teachers and sport coaches working with primary aged children should concentrate on the development of movement skills, whilst considering differences between genders and socioeconomic status.

publication date

  • 2015