According to self-determination theory, motivation is multidimensional, with motivation regulations lying along a continuum of self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2007). Accounting for the different types of motivation in physical activity research presents a challenge. This study used cluster analysis to identify motivation regulation profiles and examined their utility by testing profile differences in relative levels of self-determination (i.e., self-determination index), and theoretical antecedents (i.e., competence, autonomy, relatedness) and consequences (i.e., enjoyment, worry, effort, value, physical activity) of physical education motivation. Students (N = 386) in 6th- through 8th-grade physical education classes completed questionnaires of the variables listed above. Five profiles emerged, including average (n = 81), motivated (n = 82), self-determined (n = 91), low motivation (n = 73), and external (n = 59). Group difference analyses showed that students with greater levels of self-determined forms of motivation, regardless of non-self-determined motivation levels, reported the most adaptive physical education experiences.
Ullrich-French is with Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA. Cox is with Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL.