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.