Extracurricular School-Based Sports as a Stepping Stone Toward an Active Lifestyle? Differences in Physical Activity and Sports-Motivation Between Extracurricular School-Based Sports Participants and Non-Participants

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Purpose:

The goals were to investigate whether extracurricular school-based sports reach students not engaging in community sports and whether extracurricular school-based sports participants are more physically active and/or autonomously motivated toward sports than nonparticipants.

Method:

1526 students (48.0% boys; 85.9% Belgian natives; age = 15.34 ± 1.83y) completed validated questionnaires to assess sports participation, physical activity (PA) and sports-motivation. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted.

Results:

Only 28.7% of all students (n = 438), and 19.7% of students not engaging in community sports (n = 123), participated in extracurricular school-based sports. Participants were significantly more physically active [β=44.19, S.E.=17.34, χ2(1)=6.50, p = .01] and autonomously motivated [β=.18, S.E.=.04, χ2(1)=25.62, p < .001] than nonparticipants, even after controlling for community sports participation. Boys were more physically active and autonomously motivated than girls (p < .001).

Conclusion:

As participation is linked to higher PA-levels and autonomous motivation, increasing overall participation rates may contribute to children developing a more physically active lifestyle and achieving the PA guidelines.

The authors are with the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Address author correspondence to An De Meester at a.demeester@ugent.be.