A correlational study among attentional control, reactive stress tolerance and locomotor skills

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


People have tended to overlook the relationships between scholastic and cognitive functions and fundamental movement skills. Previous researches mainly focused on analyzing the association of fundamental movement skills competency with cognitive development. In this cross-sectional correlational study, the associations between school children’s attention properties and their motor control for six selected locomotor skills were examined.

101 schoolchildren from three local elementary schools were recruited to take a locomotor skill test, two reaction time tests and one stress tolerance test. Spearman’s correlation analysis was used to assess the relationships between locomotor skills, reaction time tests and stress tolerance test at a significant level of p ≤ 0.05 (two-tailed). The differences in the correlation coefficients between locomotor skills, attentional control and stress tolerance for boys and girl were also investigated. Age effect on the associations between locomotor skills and the attentional and stress control were controlled by using partial correlation analysis at a significant level of p ≤ 0.05 (two-tailed).

In simple reaction time tasks, running was correlated with both premotor and motor reaction time and hopping was correlated with motor reaction time. In choice reaction time tasks, running and hopping were correlated with mean reaction time of correct reactions, hits and correct rejections. These results suggested that running and hopping might be associated with the development of motor program in which attention shifts reflexively or voluntarily to skill-relevant coordinative structures and there is inhibition of attention shifts to skill-irrelevant coordinative structures for better locomotor control. Boys might have better attention for motor control in locomotor skills that have not developed motor program and coordinative structures. Girls might have better attention for motor control in locomotor skills that have developed motor program and coordinative structures. The attention for motor control in hopping is most likely to be affected by age.

Running and hopping which have developed motor program for attentional control show better reactive stress tolerance. Stress might have positive effect on the running and hopping performance. For locomotor skills at beginner level that allocated a large portion of attention to control the movement might be more susceptible to be negatively affected by the stress. At the same locomotor skill level, boys have better reactive stress tolerance and might react more during running, horizontal jumping and hopping. Elder children might have dvantageous in the attentional control for hopping movement under stress.

To summarise, when children at 6 to 9 years of age perform locomotor skills with well-established motor program are able to shift and allocate both reflexive and voluntary attention to points that can execute the locomotor movement effectively. Children executing these locomotor skills showed better control of stress on attention for motor execution and convert the stress into eustress which might have encouraging effect on locomotor performance. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • CHOW, Hung Kay, Daniel 周鴻奇, Supervisor
  • SUN, Fenghua 孫風華, Supervisor
  • YU, Chung Wah Clare, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Attention
  • Stress tolerance
  • Locomotor skill
  • Motor control
  • Motor program
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2020.


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