physical education, adolescents, attitude, perception of competence, comparative education
Comparable and cross-national research is needed to examine students’ views on the role of physical education (PE) in
promoting active and healthy lifestyles, particularly in non-English speaking contexts. Thus, the present study aims to investigate and
compare the views of middle school students from four European countries towards PE, considering cross-national and gender variables.
In this cross-sectional study, 1244 middle school students (635 boys, 609 girls; Mean age = 14.3±0.9 years) from a public secondary
school in Croatia, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, answered to a questionnaire about their: (a) PE attitude, (b) PE importance, (c) PE main
aim, and (d) perception of competence in PE. ANOVA and Student t-test were used to compare students’ views across countries, and to
compare boys’ and girls’ views within each country. Overall, results show that the students’ views towards PE were mainly positive but
important differences were found across the students from the four European countries. In all countries, boys have a more positive
attitude, gave more importance to PE and perceived themselves as more competent than girls. Regardless of the sociocultural context, this
study suggests that there is a cross-national need to further explore the nature of the differences found and increase young girl’s attitudes
towards PE. Additionally, more comparative studies are needed with a broad range of sociocultural contexts to assess the extent to which
this type of differences is present.