Task persistence by 31 children with and without mental retardation during two challenging motor tasks was investigated. We used a 2 (group) × 2 (gender) MANOVA to analyze trials and seconds per trial. A main effect was found for group affiliation: Children without mental retardation attempted more trials over three sessions. No significant differences were found for seconds per trial, which indicated that all study participants experienced a comparable level of failure in regard to seconds completed before failure. Findings support the hypothesis that children with mental retardation are less persistent at challenging motor tasks than are peers without disabilities. These findings have both theoretical and practical implications.

This study is based on a dissertation submitted to the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, Ohio State University, by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree.

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