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Bo Shen and Chiren Xu

Background:

Researchers have studied exercise determinants primarily from cognitive and social psychology perspectives, which typically give minimal attention to the body as a physical and biological entity. With the belief that tapping into multidimensional variables would potentially help us better understand motivation in exercise, we designed this study to examine the influences of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness level on Chinese college students’ leisure-time exercise motives.

Methods:

208 college students completed measures of self-efficacy and exercise motives during regular physical education classes. Their body mass and cardiorespiratory fitness level data were derived from the latest annual physical training test. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness on exercise motives.

Results:

Cardiorespiratory fitness level and self-efficacy in exercise significantly contributed to both psychological and interpersonal motives. Body mass was the only significant predictor for body-related motives. However, analyses of health and fitness motives did not result in any significant predictors.

Conclusion:

Physical and psychological variables have both independent and specialized functions on exercise motives. Future motivational studies in exercise should pay greater attention to ecological approaches that account for physical, psychological, and social factors.

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Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Using the model of domain learning as a theoretical framework, the study was designed to examine the extent to which learners’ initial learning profiles based on previously acquired knowledge, learning strategy application, and interest-based motivation were distinctive in learning softball. Participants were 177 sixth-graders from three middle schools. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to determine what kinds of learning profiles would result from the interactions among prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interest. The results revealed that individual learners could be classified into subgroups with distinctive learning characteristics. It is supported that learning in physical education is a progressive process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions. An effective physical education curriculum should address both knowledge and skill acquisition and motivation simultaneously.

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Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Guided by the Model of Domain Learning (MDL), the study was designed to explore the extent of interrelations among prior knowledge, learning strategies, interests, physical engagement, and learning outcomes in a sixth-grade (N = 91) volleyball unit. Pearson product-moment correlations and a path analysis were conducted for the research purpose. The results showed that students’ prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interests were interrelated. Physical engagement and learning outcomes were directly influenced by the interactions among prior knowledge, interests, and learning strategies. The findings in the study support that learning in physical education is domain-specific and a progressive process that encompasses both cognitive and affective components.

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Jeffrey J. Martin, Nate McCaughtry and Bo Shen

Theoretically grounded research on the determinants of Arab American children’s physical activity is virtually nonexistent. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and social cognitive theory (SCT) to predict Arab American children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Children (N = 348, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing the TPB and SCT constructs as well as MVPA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 9% of the variance in MVPA. Based on standardized beta-weights, variance accounted for, and the significance of F change, we concluded that SCT variables were better predictors of MVPA compared with the TPB constructs. In particular, barrier self-efficacy was the most critical variable within SCT and supports the potentially valuable role that efficacy cognitions play in promoting MVPA in Arab American children.

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Ang Chen, Bo Shen and Xihe Zhu

A major portion of Catherine Ennis’s scholarship and career was devoted to developing culturally relevant physical education curricula for K–12 students. She held a strong conviction that the efficacy of a curriculum lies in its ability to enhance students’ knowledge and skills of most worth for their lives. The approach she adopted for curriculum development is an evidence-supported curriculum-design process through which a curriculum is put to the rigorous process of intervention research to determine its efficacy. In this article the authors reflect on the experiences they had with her in these curriculum interventions, share the ideas and practices in the research as Ennis envisioned, and discuss challenges and solutions in conducting large-scale, school-based curriculum intervention studies.

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Haichun Sun, Weidong Li and Bo Shen

The purpose of this study was to review the literature relevant to learning in physical education (PE) according to the self-determination theory (SDT). In this literature review, we first provide an overview of SDT. Second, we discuss students’ SDT-related motivational profiles in PE. Third, we illustrate the relationships among students’ perceptions of the nature of an autonomy-supportive or controlling learning environment, need satisfaction, and self-determined motivation. Fourth, we explore the impact of SDT on students’ learning in PE with respect to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Finally, we articulate the pedagogical implications on the basis of the reviewed SDT research and future directions for SDT research in PE.

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Bo Shen, Gwen Alexander, Sharon Milberger and Kai-Lin C. Jen

Background:

While there is an emerging body of literature showing variations in physical activity between seasons, further investigation is needed to better understand this association in preschool-age children. This study was designed to examine seasonal variation from fall to winter in physical activity among preschoolers.

Methods:

Forty-six preschool children from 2 preschools in a large Midwestern Metropolitan area completed weekly habitual physical activity measures in both fall and following winter. The habitual physical activity was quantified with the GT1M Actigraph uniaxial accelerometer. To determine seasonal differences in physical activity, a series of paired sample t tests were conducted.

Results:

Although overall physical activity level declined in winter, the magnitude of seasonality effects seem varied in terms of contexts. Compared with the decline during after-school time and during weekends, the differences in physical activity across the 2 seasons were much less evident during the time attending preschool and during weekdays.

Conclusion:

Seasonality in physical activity can be moderated by other contextual factors, such as preschool policies and curriculum. Preschools may serve as a major battlefield for fighting against physical inactivity and obesity during childhood due to their practical controllability.

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Bo Shen, Ang Chen, Hope Tolley and Kristin A. Scrabis

Guided by the interest-based motivation theory, this study examined the extent to which personal interest and situational interest accounted for boys’ and girls’ learning outcome in a middle school physical education dance unit. Personal and situational interests, physical activity intensity, and skill/knowledge outcome were measured in a random student sample (N = 57). Girls demonstrated higher personal interest in dance than the boys, but both groups were equally motivated with situational interest. Although the girls were not as physically active as boys, their skill/knowledge outcome measures were higher than those of the boys. It appears that gender may have little impact on the motivational effect of situational interest and that girls’ in-class learning might have higher quality than that of boys as a result of higher personal interest. The findings indicate that situational interest may motivate all students, but it is necessary to enhance personal interest in order for them to engage in quality learning.

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Bo Shen, Nate McCaughtry, Jeffrey J. Martin and Mariane Fahlman

With the belief that theoretical integration in motivation may help us better understand motivational behavior, we designed this study to explore adolescents’ motivational profiles and their associations with knowledge acquisition, leisure-time exercise behaviors, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Middle school students from a large urban inner-city school district (N = 603, ages 12–14) completed questionnaires assessing motivational constructs and leisure-time exercise behavior. Knowledge and cardiorespiratory fitness were also assessed with a knowledge test and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test, respectively. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, we found that students’ motivation in physical education could be explained from a multi-theoretical perspective. The interactive patterns among different motivation constructs were homogeneous overall and associated with in-class effort, knowledge, and leisure-time exercise behavior. These findings suggest that students’ development in physical education may depend upon a collective impact of changes in knowledge, physical activity ability, and sources of motivation.

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Bo Shen, Weidong Li, Haichun Sun and Paul Bernard Rukavina

Guided by Green-Demers, Leagult, Pelletier, and Pelletier’s (2008) assumption that amotivation (absence of motivation) is a multidimensional construct, we designed this study to investigate the influence of inadequate teacher-to-student social support on amotivation of high-school physical education students. Five hundred and sixty-six ninth graders completed questionnaires assessing psychological constructs and intentions for future physical education participation while physical education teachers rated their students’ in-class effort. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that perceived teachers’ inadequate supports in autonomy, competence, and relatedness were associated with different subtypes of amotivation. In turn, amotivation impeded in-class effort and intention for future physical education participation. The findings indicate that diminished social support from teachers may act as a significant factor resulting in students’ amotivation. The multidimensional nature of amotivation should be identified and instructionally addressed during teaching and learning.