How are physical literacy interventions conceptualized? – A systematic review on intervention design and content

Carl J, Barratt J, Töpfer C, Cairney J, Pfeifer K (2022)

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2022


Original Authors: Johannes Carl, Jaime Barratt, Clemens Töpfer, John Cairney, Klaus Pfeifer

Book Volume: 58

Pages Range: 102091

Article Number: 102091

DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102091


The concept of physical literacy (PL) has gained increasing attention over the last decade and posits that individuals value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life through (a) motivation/confidence, (b) physical competence, and (c) knowledge/understanding. There is a mounting number of articles that have recently transformed the conceptual ideas of PL into interventions. The goal of this pre-registered (PROSPERO CRD42020188926) systematic review was to analyze and summarize PL interventions in terms of design and content. A total of 18 databases were searched drawing on the 2020 preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Inclusion criteria were English language, publication by November 2020, and interventions based on or inspired by PL. Articles that met these criteria were analyzed in relation to basic delivery characteristics, theoretical foundations, study objectives, intervention content, and potential links between the PL domains (a-c) and content. The multiphase screening process with two independent raters yielded 44 eligible interventions across 46 articles. The analyses of the review demonstrated that the majority of interventions were conducted on children or adolescents and in countries with higher economic development. While 77.3% of the interventions adopted a holistic understanding of PL, only 38.6% formulated study goals or intervention content to cover all the core PL domains. Importantly, only 25.0% of the interventions showed substantial links between PL domains and intervention content and can thus be classified as theory-based. Taken together, most interventions targeted aspects of physical competence (84.1%), whereas knowledge/understanding (59.1%) and motivation/confidence (47.7%) were often neglected. Therefore, future interventions should commit to systematically address all domains of PL simultaneously. PL interventions exposed weaknesses in reporting delivery characteristics and content. Finally, a model is suggested which assumes that practical PL efforts may better harmonize with PL theory and conception if they cultivated a tight interlocking with the three core domains of PL at all stages of the intervention process.

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Carl, J., Barratt, J., Töpfer, C., Cairney, J., & Pfeifer, K. (2022). How are physical literacy interventions conceptualized? – A systematic review on intervention design and content. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 58, 102091.


Carl, Johannes, et al. "How are physical literacy interventions conceptualized? – A systematic review on intervention design and content." Psychology of Sport and Exercise 58 (2022): 102091.

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