A three-wave prospective design was used to assess a model of motivation guided by self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2008) spanning the contexts of school physical education (PE) and exercise. The outcome variables examined were health-related quality of life (HRQoL), physical self-concept (PSC), and 4 days of objectively assessed estimates of activity. Secondary school students (n = 494) completed questionnaires at three separate time points and were familiarized with how to use a sealed pedometer. Results of structural equation modeling supported a model in which perceptions of autonomy support from a PE teacher positively predicted PE-related need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, and relatedness). Competence predicted PSC, whereas relatedness predicted HRQoL. Autonomy and competence positively predicted autonomous motivation toward PE, which in turn positively predicted autonomous motivation toward exercise (i.e., 4-day pedometer step count). Autonomous motivation toward exercise positively predicted step count, HRQoL, and PSC. Results of multisample structural equation modeling supported gender invariance. Suggestions for future work are discussed.
Keywords: self-determination theory, physical education, exercise, well-being