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Lauren K. Banting, James A. Dimmock, and J. Robert Grove

This study examined the effect of motivational primes on participants (N = 171) during a cycling task. Relative to participants primed with a controlled motivational orientation, it was hypothesized that participants primed for autonomous motivation would report greater feelings of enjoyment, effort, and choice in relation to the cycling activity and report greater exercise intentions. Members of the autonomous prime group were expected to exercise for longer, at a greater percentage of their heart rate maximum, and report lower levels of perceived exertion than those in the controlled prime condition. It was found that, relative to participants in the controlled prime group, those who received the autonomous prime enjoyed the exercise more, exercised at a greater percentage of heart rate maximum, and reported a lower rating of perceived exertion. Furthermore, participants experiencing the controlled prime exercised for less time and had lower intentions to exercise than did other participants. Results highlight the importance of automatic processes in activating motivation for exercise.

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Cassandra Sparks, Chris Lonsdale, James Dimmock, and Ben Jackson

Research grounded in self-determination theory has demonstrated the important role of teachers in shaping students’ physical education experiences. Utilizing a cluster-randomized controlled design, this study aimed to examine whether an interpersonally involving training program based on self-determination theory principles could enhance students’ in-class experiences. With 18 teachers (males = 8, females = 10, M age = 32.75, SD = 8.14) and a final sample of 382 students (males = 155, females = 227, M age = 13.20, SD = 1.66), we implemented linear mixed modeling to investigate the effects on students’ (a) perceived relatedness support and (b) enjoyment of physical education, tripartite efficacy beliefs (i.e., self-efficacy, other-efficacy, relation-inferred self-efficacy), self-determined motivation, and amotivation. Relative to those in the control condition, students in the treatment condition reported positive changes in teacher-provided relatedness support, enjoyment, other-efficacy, and peer-focused relation-inferred self-efficacy. These findings demonstrate support for strategies designed to aid physical education teachers’ relatedness-supportive instructional behaviors.

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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi, and James A. Dimmock

Recent studies of coach–athlete interaction have explored the bivariate relationships between each of the tripartite efficacy constructs (self-efficacy; other-efficacy; relation-inferred self-efficacy, or RISE) and various indicators of relationship quality. This investigation adopted an alternative approach by using cluster analyses to identify tripartite efficacy profiles within a sample of 377 individual sport athletes (M age = 20.25, SD = 2.12), and examined how individuals in each cluster group differed in their perceptions about their relationship with their coach (i.e., commitment, satisfaction, conflict). Four clusters emerged: High (n = 128), Moderate (n = 95), and Low (n = 78) profiles, in which athletes reported relatively high, moderate, or low scores across all tripartite perceptions, respectively, as well as an Unfulfilled profile (n = 76) in which athletes held relatively high self-efficacy, but perceived lower levels of other-efficacy and RISE. Multivariate analyses revealed differences between the clusters on all relationship variables that were in line with theory. These results underscore the utility of considering synergistic issues in the examination of the tripartite efficacy framework.

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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi, and James A. Dimmock

Drawing from a three-factor model of organizational commitment, we sought to provide validity evidence for a multidimensional conceptualization designed to capture adolescent athletes’ commitment to their coach–athlete relationship or their team. In Study 1, 335 individual-sport athletes (M age = 17.32, SD = 1.38) completed instruments assessing affective, normative, and continuance commitment to their relationship with their coach, and in Study 2, contextually modified instruments were administered to assess interdependent-sport athletes’ (N = 286, M age = 16.31, SD = 1.33) commitment to their team. Bayesian structural equation modeling revealed support for a three-factor (in comparison with a single-factor) model, along with relations between commitment dimensions and relevant correlates (e.g., satisfaction, return intentions, cohesion) that were largely consistent with theory. Guided by recent advancements in Bayesian modeling, these studies provide a new commitment instrument with the potential for use and refinement in team- and relationship-based settings and offer preliminary support for a conceptual framework that may help advance our understanding of the factors underpinning individuals’ engagement in sport.

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Yew Meng How, Peter Whipp, James Dimmock, and Ben Jackson

This study examined whether the provision of choice in physical education (PE) enhanced students’ autonomous motivation, perceived autonomy support, and physical activity (PA) levels, relative to a “regular PE” control group. Students from eight intact high school PE classes (N = 257, Mage = 12.91) were randomly assigned to control (i.e., four classes) and intervention (i.e., four classes) conditions. Students in the intervention group were given a unique opportunity to choose their preferred participatory role in their PE units, while control students participated in normal teacher-led PE, and data were collected over a 15-week program (i.e., three units of five weeks each). The results indicated that a lack of choice in PE aligned with less positive perceptions of autonomy support among students within the control group, compared with their counterparts in the intervention group. In some choice formats, students exhibited significantly higher PA levels than students who undertook normal PE. These findings indicate that offering choice in high school PE lessons may encourage perceptions of autonomy support and levels of in-class physical activity.

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Barbara E. Bechter, James A. Dimmock, Joshua L. Howard, Peter R. Whipp, and Ben Jackson

Guided by the principles of self-determination theory, the purpose of this study was to identify latent profiles representing high school students’ motivational regulations for physical education (PE) and to model putative predictors and outcomes of profile membership. A sample of 532 Australian high school students, age 12–16 years (M = 13.83, SD = 1.13), reported their motivation for PE, perceptions of need satisfaction in PE, and effort expended in PE. Latent profile analysis revealed evidence of 3 distinct profiles that were consistent with continuum expectations outlined in self-determination theory (i.e., the moderately autonomous, moderately controlled, and highly autonomous profiles), alongside 2 profiles characterized by levels of introjected regulation that aligned with autonomous motives (i.e., the mixed motivation and amotivated profiles). Analyses also revealed that, on the whole, greater need satisfaction predicted membership of more autonomous profiles and that membership of such profiles was predictive of greater self-reported effort in PE. Analyses revealed evidence of qualitatively distinct motivation profiles that were differentially predicted by students’ psychological need satisfaction and predictive of in-class effort. This study is not only the first to use latent profile analysis to explore the role of psychological need satisfaction in predicting PE motivation profiles. It also provides practical information regarding the prevalence and potential outcomes of students’ motivation profiles.

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Timothy C. Howle, James A. Dimmock, Nikos Ntoumanis, Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis, Cassandra Sparks, and Ben Jackson

We tested the effects of advertisements about a fictitious exercise class—derived using the theoretical constructs of agency and communion—on recipients’ perceptions about, and interest in, the class. The final sample consisted of 150 adults (M age = 44.69, SD = 15.83). Results revealed that participants who received a communal-oriented message reported significantly greater exercise task self-efficacy and more positive affective attitudes relative to those who received an agentic-oriented message. Communal (relative to agentic) messages were also indirectly responsible for greater intentions to attend the class, via more positive self-efficacy beliefs and affective attitudes. These findings were obtained despite the use of another manipulation to orient participants to either agency or communion goals. The results indicate that the primacy of communion over agency for message recipients may extend to exercise settings and may occur irrespective of whether participants are situationally oriented toward agency or communion.

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Timothy C. Howle, James A. Dimmock, Peter R. Whipp, and Ben Jackson

With the aim of advancing the literature on impression management in physical activity settings, we developed a theoretically derived 2 by 2 instrument that was designed to measure different types of context-specific selfpresentation motives. Following item generation and expert review (Study 1), the instrument was completed by 206 group exercise class attendees (Study 2) and 463 high school physical education students (Study 3). Our analyses supported the intended factor structure (i.e., reflecting acquisitive-agentic, acquisitive-communal, protective-agentic, and protective-communal motives). We found some support for construct validity, and the self-presentation motives were associated with variables of theoretical and applied interest (e.g., impression motivation and construction, social anxiety, social and achievement goals, efficacy beliefs, engagement). Taken together, the results indicate that the Self-presentation Motives for Physical Activity Questionnaire (SMPAQ) may be useful for measuring various types of self-presentation motives in physical activity settings.

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Ben Jackson, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Chris Lonsdale, Peter R. Whipp, and James A. Dimmock

Despite the prevalence of group-/team-based enactment within sport and physical activity settings, to this point the study of relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE) has been focused upon estimations regarding a single target individual (e.g., one’s coach). Accordingly, researchers have not yet considered whether individuals may also form RISE estimations regarding the extent to which the others in their group/team as a whole are confident in their ability. We applied structural equation modeling analyses with cross-sectional and prospective data collected from members of interdependent sport teams (Studies 1 and 2) and undergraduate physical activity classes (Studies 3 and 4), with the purpose of exploring these group-focused RISE inferences. Analyses showed that group-focused RISE perceptions (a) predicted individuals’ confidence in their own ability, (b) were empirically distinct from conceptually related constructs, and (c) directly and/or indirectly predicted a range of downstream outcomes over and above the effects of other efficacy perceptions. Taken together, these findings provide preliminary evidence that individuals’ group-focused RISE appraisals may be important to consider when investigating the network of efficacy perceptions that develops in group-based physical activity contexts.

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James Dimmock, David Simich, Timothy Budden, Leslie Podlog, Mark Beauchamp, and Ben Jackson

Across 2 studies, the authors explored reactance effects to overexaggerated claims and controlling language in exercise messaging. In Study 1, participants received either a message exaggerating the benefits of an upcoming exercise session or no message. They subsequently undertook a mundane exercise session led by an instructor, which was either need supportive or “realistically controlling.” Relative to no-message participants, those who had read the message reported less positive evaluations of the session. These results were observed despite participants in the message condition holding more positive presession expectations, and the effect was apparent even for those who received need-supportive instruction. In Study 2, participants read an advertisement that was written in either autonomy-supportive language or controlling language. Despite reporting comparable expectations, participants who received a controlling-language message reported significantly greater anger and freedom threat—factors commonly linked to contrast effects. These studies highlight the operation of message-driven contrast effects in exercise.