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Alex C. Garn

Multidimensional measurement is a common theme in motivation research because many constructs are conceptualized as having an overarching general factor (e.g., situational interest) and specific dimensions (e.g., attention demand, challenge, exploration intention, instant enjoyment, novelty). This review addresses current issues associated with the multidimensional measurement of situational interest in elementary physical education (PE) and illustrates the application and benefits of bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM). I perform secondary analysis on a large, previously published data set used to provide validation support for the Situational Interest Scale for Elementary PE. Findings clearly demonstrate the advantages of capturing the multidimensional nature of situational interest using bifactor ESEM. Specifically, a more accurate measurement model of situational interest is reproduced using bifactor ESEM compared with other techniques such as first-order and second-order confirmatory factor analysis. There is empirical support for an overall general factor of situational interest when using the Situational Interest Scale for Elementary PE, however, examining the five dimensions of situational interest as unique factors after accounting for the general factor does not appear warranted.

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Zacharias C. Wood and Alex C. Garn

Although sport is regarded as a bastion of male hegemony, coed settings offer females the opportunity to compete alongside males. Coed environments, however, often include rule modifications that intend to facilitate female participation, which promote female inferiority assumptions. This study sought to critique modifications in the divisive world of coed flag football through the lens of benevolent sexism and the shifting standards model. Observational field notes and interview data gathered over a season revealed that the equity perceived to be legislated by rule modifications was overshadowed by negative outcomes, as modifications perpetuated stereotypes and reinforced an environment of male domination. We discuss the ubiquity of male superiority beliefs within coed flag football and implications of the unintended consequences of rule modifications.

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Emily Kristin Beasley and Alex C. Garn

This study examined the relationships among identified regulation, physical self-concept, global self-concept, and leisure-time physical activity with a sample of middle and high school girls (N = 319) enrolled in physical education. Based on Marsh’s theory of self-concept, it was hypothesized that a) physical self-concept would mediate the relationship between identified regulation and global self-concept and b) physical self-concept would mediate the relationship between identified regulation and leisure-time physical activity. Data analysis revealed a structural model in which physical self-concept mediated the relationship between identified regulation and global self-concept as well as the relationship between identified regulation and leisure-time physical activity. Findings provide support for examining self-concept from a hierarchical and domain-specific perspective. Results also offer greater understanding about one possible mechanism that links physical education to increases in global self-concept and leisure-time physical activity, which are considered important outcomes of quality education.

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Alex C. Garn and Donetta J. Cothran

Using Scanlan and Lewthwaite’s (1986) sport enjoyment model as a conceptual framework, this study was designed to explore two areas: (a) students’ and teachers’ perceptions of “fun” in physical education class and (b) differences that may exist in these perceptions between groups of students (in team sports, individual/dual sports, and fitness) and teachers. The critical incident technique and a fun survey were administered to 191 participants. Critical incident technique narratives and descriptive statistics revealed the importance of achievement motivation concepts, such as teacher, task, and the social aspects of fun in physical education, whereas MANOVA revealed significant differences in perceptions of fun between students and teachers.

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Kelly L. Simonton, Alex C. Garn, and Melinda Ann Solmon


Grounded in control-value theory, a model of students’ achievement emotions in physical education (PE) was investigated.


A path analysis tested hypotheses that students’ (N = 529) perceptions of teacher responsiveness, assertiveness, and clarity predict control and value beliefs which, in turn, predict enjoyment and boredom.


Teacher clarity predicted student control (β = .31; R 2= .09) and value (β = .21; R 2= .07) beliefs. Value and control beliefs positively predicted enjoyment (β = .71; β = .11; R 2 = .58) and negatively predicted boredom (β = -.61; β = -.13; R2 = .47).


Findings provide meaningful information about the source of students’ emotional experiences in PE. The importance of instructional clarity within the model highlights the need for teachers to use a variety of clarifying strategies during instruction. The strong links between value beliefs and emotions suggest teachers need to explicitly discuss the intrinsic and extrinsic worth of PE content.

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Tristan Wallhead, Alex C. Garn, Carla Vidoni, and Charli Youngberg

Sport Education has embedded pedagogical strategies proposed to reduce the prevalence of amotivation in physical education. The purpose of this study was to provide an examination of the game play participation rates of amotivated students within a Sport Education season. A sample of 395 high school students participated in a season of team handball. A multistep cluster analysis approach revealed three motivational profiles: amotivated, moderate and high clusters. A priori analyses revealed differences in perceived effort, enjoyment, and need satisfaction across the three profile groups. Game play participation rates coded throughout the season revealed no significant differences in ball engagement or success rates across motivational profile groups. A significant difference occurred in active game participation between the high and amotivated students. Results suggest that Sport Education elicits a level of inclusive game play participation across students of different motivational profiles.

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Kelly L. Simonton, Alex C. Garn, and Nicholas Washburn

Purpose: This study evaluated relationships among students’ views of the caring climate, emotions, and engagement in high school physical education (PE) classes utilizing Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions. Method: Structural education modeling tested the direct and mediating roles of the caring climate and emotions on engagement in high school PE students (N = 638). Results: The caring climate predicted enjoyment (β = 0.45), boredom (β = −0.44), and shame (β = −0.31), while enjoyment (β = 0.71) and shame (β = 0.12) predicted student engagement, supporting Control-Value Theory of Achievement Emotions assumptions. However, caring climate also predicted student engagement directly, aligning with study hypotheses. Discussion/Conclusion: The findings suggest that a caring climate relates to student emotions and engagement in PE and supports the value of emotions in PE. This highlights the need for training high school PE teachers to facilitate a caring climate in the interest of maximizing optimal student emotions and engagement.

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Alex C. Garn, David R. Ware, and Melinda A. Solmon

High school physical education classes provide students with numerous opportunities for social interactions, but few studies have explored how social strivings impact class engagement. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among 2 × 2 achievement goals, social motivation orientations, and effort in high school physical education classes using contemporary goal theory. A total of 105 ninth and tenth grade students reported their social motivation orientations, achievement goal orientations, and effort toward physical education. All four 2 × 2 achievement goals and three social motivation orientations had positive relationships with students’ self-reported effort in physical education. Further regression analysis revealed that mastery approach, performance avoidance, and social status goal orientations accounted for unique variance in explaining self-reported effort in high school physical education. Thus, students’ social strivings produce constructive outcomes in high school physical education and teachers who are able to promote healthy social climates can reap these benefits.

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Jian Wang, Bo Shen, Xiaobin Luo, Qingshan Hu, and Alex C. Garn

Purpose: Using Butler’s teacher achievement goal orientation as a conceptual framework, we developed this study to validate a teachers’ achievement goal instrument for teaching physical education. Methods: A sample of 322 Chinese physical education teachers participated in this study and completed measures of achievement goal orientations and job satisfaction for teaching physical education. Results: An exploratory factor analysis provided preliminary support with the instrument comprising four types of teachers’ orientation: mastery, ability-approach, ability-avoidance, and work-avoidance goals. A confirmatory factor analysis and multi-step invariance tests further corroborated the four-factor construct with acceptable reliabilities. Its predictive validity was also confirmed by the associations between job satisfaction and mastery goals and ability-approach goals. Discussion/Conclusion: Overall, the findings lend evidence to the conceptual validation of the structure of teachers’ goal orientations. It is suggested that physical education teachers’ individual differences in construing success be considered and instructionally addressed during teaching and learning.

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Alex C. Garn, Birgitta L. Baker, Emily K. Beasley, and Melinda A. Solmon


Traditional videogames contribute to sedentary behaviors; in contrast, exergaming is a relatively new concept that uses videogames to promote exercise during game play. Nintendo Wii Fit is a commercially popular exergaming platform geared toward improving fitness, however, limited empirical evidence related to the physical and mental benefits of the Wii Fit platform currently exist. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate possible physical and motivational benefits of Nintendo Wii Fit.


A repeated measures design was used with 30 college-aged students to explore physical activity, enjoyment, and future intentions of physical activity associated with Wii Fit exergames.


Data supported the efficacy of Wii Fit Basic Run to consistently produce moderate to vigorous physical activity across participants. Future intentions were higher for exergaming compared with generic exercise and obese individuals enjoyed exergaming more than generic physical activity.


The Basic Run Wii Fit game provided opportunities for accumulating moderate to vigorous physical activity that provided motivational benefits to these participants, especially those classified as obese. Future research should examine the ability of Wii Fit exergames to produce physical activity and motivation over time.