Motivational Predictors of Physical Education Students’ Effort, Exercise Intentions, and Leisure-Time Physical Activity: A Multilevel Linear Growth Analysis

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Loughborough University
  • | 2 University of Birmingham
  • | 3 University of Bath
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Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000), the current study explored whether physical education (PE) students’ psychological needs and their motivational regulations toward PE predicted mean differences and changes in effort in PE, exercise intentions, and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) over the course of one UK school trimester. One hundred and seventy-eight students (69% male) aged between 11 and 16 years completed a multisection questionnaire at the beginning, middle, and end of a school trimester. Multilevel growth models revealed that students’ perceived competence and self-determined regulations were the most consistent predictors of the outcome variables at the within- and between-person levels. The results of this work add to the extant SDT-based literature by examining change in PE students’ motivational regulations and psychological needs, as well as underscoring the importance of disaggregating within- and between-student effects.

Taylor is with the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom. Ntoumanis is with the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Standage is with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Spray is with the School of Sport, Exercise, & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.