Using basic psychological needs theory (BPNT; Ryan & Deci, 2000) as our guiding framework, we explored cultural differences in the relationships among physical education students’ perceptions of teacher autonomy support, psychological need satisfaction, subjective vitality and effort in class. Seven hundred and fifteen students (age range from 13 to 15 years) from the U.K. and Hong Kong, China, completed a multisection inventory during a timetabled physical education class. Multilevel analyses revealed that the relationships among autonomy support, subjective vitality and effort were mediated by students’ perceptions of psychological need satisfaction. The relationship between autonomy support and perceptions of competence was stronger in the Chinese sample, compared with the U.K. sample. In addition, the relationship between perceptions of relatedness and effort was not significant in the Chinese students. The findings generally support the pan-cultural utility of BPNT and imply that a teacher-created autonomy supportive environment may promote positive student experiences in both cultures.
Ian M. Taylor is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, U.K. Chris Lonsdale is with the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Australia.