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Martyn Standage

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Martyn Standage

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Thomas Curran and Martyn Standage

Motivation research is central to understanding why certain students exhibit high levels of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement with learning, and why others lack interest, display boredom, and withdraw effort (i.e., are disaffected). In this review, tenets within self-determination theory (SDT) are used to provide a theoretically-informed account of student engagement and disaffection in the context of school physical education (PE). Our review centers on the proposition within SDT that the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (i.e., for autonomy, competence, and relatedness) provide the energizing basis for optimal motivational functioning and wellness. Teacher strategies and class structures are reviewed in the context of whether they satisfy or frustrate these psychological needs. To amalgamate the reviewed literature, a mediated model depicting a ‘student-teacher dialectical’ framework is presented. Several practitioner recommendations for supporting student engagement in PE are then offered. Lastly, findings of past interventions within the school context are presented and discussed.

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Simon J. Sebire, Martyn Standage and Maarten Vansteenkiste

Self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) proposes that intrinsic, relative to extrinsic, goal content is a critical predictor of the quality of an individual’s behavior and psychological well-being. Through three studies, we developed and psychometrically tested a measure of intrinsic and extrinsic goal content in the exercise context: the Goal Content for Exercise Questionnaire (GCEQ). In adults, exploratory (N = 354; Study 1) and confrmatory factor analyses (N = 312; Study 2) supported a 20-item solution consisting of 5 lower order factors (i.e., social affliation, health management, skill development, image and social recognition) that could be subsumed within a 2-factor higher order structure (i.e., intrinsic and extrinsic). Evidence for external validity, temporal stability, gender invariance, and internal consistency of the GCEQ was found. An independent sample (N = 475; Study 3) provided further support for the lower order structure of the GCEQ and some support for the higher order structure. The GCEQ was supported as a measure of exercise-based goal content, which may help understand how intrinsic and extrinsic goals can motivate exercise behavior.

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Dylan O. Blain, Thomas Curran and Martyn Standage

Purpose: Physical literacy is understood to be important for adolescents’ behavioral and psychological wellness. Yet, to date, limited empirical data exist to support such reasoning. Addressing this gap, the present study examined relationships between physical literacy and early adolescents’ physical education engagement, leisure-time exercise behavior, and psychological well-being. Methods: The physical literacy level of 187 early adolescents (M age = 12.84, SD = 0.55, girls = 99) was measured using the Canadian Assessment for Physical Literacy. One week later, data pertaining to standardized measures of engagement in physical education, leisure-time exercise behavior, and psychological well-being were collected. Results: Structural equation modeling revealed that physical literacy was positively correlated with physical education engagement, leisure-time exercise, positive affect, and vitality, whereas it was negatively correlated with negative affect. Conclusion: The findings from this work substantiate the contention that physical literacy has manifold benefits for early adolescents’ behavioral and psychological wellness.

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Martyn Standage, Simon J. Sebire and Tom Loney

This study examined the utility of motivation as advanced by self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) in predicting objectively assessed bouts of moderate-intensity exercise behavior. Participants provided data pertaining to their exercise motivation. One week later, participants wore a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor (Actiheart; Cambridge Neurotechnology Ltd) and 24-hr energy expenditure was estimated for 7 days. After controlling for gender and a combined marker of BMI and waist circumference, results showed autonomous motivation to positively predict moderate-intensity exercise bouts of ≥10 min, ≥20 min, and an accumulation needed to meet public health recommendations for moderate-intensity activity (i.e., ACSM/AHA guidelines). The present findings add bouts of objectively assessed exercise behavior to the growing body of literature that documents the adaptive consequences of engaging in exercise for autonomous reasons. Implications for practice and future work are discussed.

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Ian M. Taylor, Nikos Ntoumanis and Martyn Standage

Physical education teachers can influence students’ self-determination through the motivational strategies that they use. The current study examined how teachers’ reported use of three motivational strategies (providing a meaningful rationale, providing instrumental help and support, and gaining an understanding of the students) were predicted by perceived job pressure, perceptions of student self-determination, the teachers’ autonomous orientation, psychological need satisfaction, and self-determination to teach. Structural equation modeling supported a model in which perceived job pressure, perceptions of student self-determination, and teacher autonomous orientation predicted teacher psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn positively influenced teacher self-determination. The last positively predicted the use of all three strategies. Direct positive effects of teachers’ psychological need satisfaction on the strategies of gaining an understanding of students and instrumental help and support were also found. In summary, factors that influence teacher motivation may also indirectly affect their motivational strategies toward students.

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Simon J. Sebire, Martyn Standage and Maarten Vansteenkiste

Grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), the purpose of this work was to examine effects of the content and motivation of adults’ exercise goals on objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). After reporting the content and motivation of their exercise goals, 101 adult participants (M age = 38.79 years; SD = 11.5) wore an ActiGraph (GT1M) accelerometer for seven days. Accelerometer data were analyzed to provide estimates of engagement in MVPA and bouts of physical activity. Goal content did not directly predict behavioral engagement; however, mediation analysis revealed that goal content predicted behavior via autonomous exercise motivation. Specifically, intrinsic versus extrinsic goals for exercise had a positive indirect effect on average daily MVPA, average daily MVPA accumulated in 10-min bouts and the number of days on which participants performed 30 or more minutes of MVPA through autonomous motivation. These results support a motivational sequence in which intrinsic versus extrinsic exercise goals influence physical activity behavior because such goals are associated with more autonomous forms of exercise motivation.

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Simon J. Sebire, Martyn Standage and Maarten Vansteenkiste

Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), this study had two purposes: (a) examine the associations between intrinsic (relative to extrinsic) exercise goal content and cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes; and (b) test the mediating role of psychological need satisfaction in the Exercise Goal Content Outcomes relationship. Using a sample of 410 adults, hierarchical regression analysis showed relative intrinsic goal content to positively predict physical self-worth, self-reported exercise behavior, psychological well-being, and psychological need satisfaction and negatively predict exercise anxiety. Except for exercise behavior, the predictive utility of relative intrinsic goal content on the dependent variables of interest remained significant after controlling for participants’ relative self-determined exercise motivation. Structural equation modeling analyses showed psychological need satisfaction to partially mediate the effect of relative intrinsic goal content on the outcome variables. Our findings support further investigation of exercise goals commensurate with the goal content perspective advanced in SDT.

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Simon J. Sebire, Martyn Standage, Fiona B. Gillison and Maarten Vansteenkiste

Goals are central to exercise motivation, although not all goals (e.g., health vs. appearance goals) are equally psychologically or behaviorally adaptive. Within goal content theory (Vansteenkiste, Niemiec, & Soenens, 2010), goals are adaptive to the extent to which they satisfy psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. However, little is known about what exercisers pursuing different goals are feeling, doing, thinking, and paying attention to that may help to explain the association between goal contents and need satisfaction. Using semistructured interviews and interpretative phenomenological analysis, we explored experiences of exercise among 11 adult exercisers who reported pursuing either predominantly intrinsic or extrinsic goals. Four themes emerged: (a) observation of others and resulting emotions, (b) goal expectations and time perspective, (c) markers of progress and (d) reactions to (lack of) goal achievement. Intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuers reported divergent experiences within these four domains. The findings illuminate potential mechanisms by which different goals may influence psychological and behavioral outcomes in the exercise context.