Objective To examine the effects of different levels of goal specificity and difficulty on Latino children's performance and physical activity (PA) levels in an after-school program incorporating an interactive dance program (Dance Dance Revolution [DDR]; Konami Corporation).
Design Comparison study.
Setting Rose Park Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Participants Ninety-eight Latino children in the first through sixth grades, aged 7 to 13 years.
Intervention After the pretest, the participants were randomly assigned into 1 of the following 3 goal-setting conditions: (1) easy, (2) difficult, and (3) best effort (hereinafter referred to as do-your-best goal).
Main Outcome Measures Participants' PA levels were measured using piezoelectric pedometers, and steps per minute were used as the outcome variable. Participants' total points for their dance on television screens were retrieved as their performance scores. These outcome variables were assessed again 8 weeks later (posttest score).
Results The multivariate analysis of covariance yielded a significant main effect for the goal-setting condition. Follow-up tests revealed that children who set specific (easy or difficult) goals had significantly greater increased PA levels (mean scores, 10.34 for easy and 22.45 for difficult) and DDR performance (0.011 for easy and 0.67 for difficult) than those in the do-your-best group (0.83 for PA and 0.17 for performance). In addition, children's increased PA levels in the difficult-goal group were significantly higher than those in the easy-goal group.
Conclusions The easy- and difficult-goal groups show a significant improvement on DDR performance. The difficult-goal group also displays the highest improvement on PA levels. Strategies to enhance children's DDR performance and PA levels are discussed in relation to the extant goal-setting literature.