The expectancy-value theory postulates that motivation relies on individuals’ beliefs of success, perceived Attainment, Intrinsic Interest, and Utility values and Cost. This study examined Chinese college students’ expectancy-value motivation in relation to physical education and self-initiated physical activity.
A random sample of 368 Chinese university students responded to questionnaires on perceived expectancy beliefs, perceived values, and cost in terms of their experiences in mandatory physical education programs and in self-initiated after-school physical activity. They reported their choice decisions for continuing physical education. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, χ2, logistic and linear regressions.
The physical education curriculum was perceived as a major cost to motivation. Motivated by the Intrinsic Interest and Utility value, most students chose to continue to take physical education. Self-initiated after-school physical activity was motivated by the Attainment value only. No association was found between self-initiated physical activity and Liking or Disliking of physical education.
Motivation for physical education and for self-initiated physical activity derived from different perceived values. The Attainment value motivates the students for self-initiated physical activity, whereas Intrinsic Interest and Utility values motivate them to choose to continue physical education.
Ang Chen is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Xinlan Liu is with the Dept of Physical Education, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.