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According to Deci and Ryan’s (1985) self-determination theory, perceptions of self-determination moderate the effects of perceived competence on intrinsic motivation, with perceived competence only positively influencing intrinsic motivation under conditions of some self-determination. Vallerand’s (1997) hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation suggests that self-determination and competence have only independent effects on intrinsic motivation. The aim of this study was to test these competing models. Women aerobics participants (n = 146) completed measures of self-determination, perceived competence, and intrinsic motivation for exercise. Moderated hierarchical regression revealed a significant interactive effect of self-determination and perceived competence. A plot of the regression of intrinsic motivation on perceived competence under conditions of high and low self-determination, however, showed that the interaction did not take the expected form. Variations in perceived competence positively influenced intrinsic motivation only under conditions of low self-determination. This suggests that it is particularly important to foster perceptions of competence among individuals low in self-determination.
David Markland is with the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences at the University of Wales, Bangor, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2PX, Wales, UK.