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Despite research attention toward understanding relationships between psychological need satisfaction (PNS), moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), methodological limitations make it difficult to establish reciprocal and mediating effects. Reciprocal relationships between PNS and MVPA were examined over 4 years, and their effects on adolescents’ change in dimensions of HRQoL were examined. Self-reported data were collected from 932 adolescents (Mage = 10.9 years) every 4 months beginning in Grades 5/6. At the between-persons and within-person level, earlier PNS predicted later MVPA whereas earlier MVPA did not predict later PNS. Increases in MVPA were associated with greater change in physical (βlinear = .61, βquadratic = .77, ps = .03) and school functioning (βlinear = .68, βquadratic = .84, ps = .03) but no other dimensions of HRQoL (p > .05). Decreases in PNS were not associated with any of the dimensions of HRQoL. Fostering adolescents’ PNS could be a starting point to increase MVPA, which, in turn, may enhance select dimensions of HRQoL.
Katie E. Gunnell is with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group (HALO), The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada, and the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Jennifer Brunet is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Institut de Recherche de l’Hôpital Montfort, Ottawa, Canada; and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada. Catherine Sabiston is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Mathieu Bélanger is with the Department of Family Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke and Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Moncton, Canada. Address author correspondence to Katie E. Gunnell at KGunnell@cheo.on.ca.