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Nina Verma, Robert C. Eklund, Calum A. Arthur, Timothy C. Howle and Ann-Marie Gibson

This study examined whether teachers’ use of transformational teaching behaviors, as perceived by adolescent girls, in physical education would predict girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity via mediated effects of physical activity self-presentation motives, physical activity identity, and physical education class engagement. Self-report data were acquired from 273 Scottish high school girls in Grades S1–S3 (the equivalent of Grades 7–9 in North America) at 2 time points separated by 1 week. Significant predictive pathways were found from transformational teaching to girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity via mediated effects of acquisitive self-presentation motives and physical activity identity. This preliminary study provides a novel contribution to the research area by showing how previously unrelated psychosocial constructs work together to predict adolescent girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity. Results are discussed in relation to existing literature and future research directions.

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

Two studies involving high school physical education students were conducted to investigate associations between 2 x 2 self-presentation motives and theorized antecedents. In Study 1 (n = 445), using path analysis, we found that positive predictive pathways emerged from fear of negative evaluation, trait agency and communion, self-presentational efficacy, and social self-efficacy to 2 x 2 motives. In Study 2 (n = 301), using cluster analysis, we found that approximately half the cohort was classified into a high motive endorsement cluster and half into a low motive endorsement cluster. The high cluster had significantly higher 2 x 2 motive, fear of negative evaluation, trait agency and communion, and self-efficacy scores. This work represents the first concerted effort to empirically examine proposed antecedents of 2 x 2 motives and serves to inform theorists and practitioners about dispositional and context-specific factors that may align with these motives.

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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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James A. Dimmock, Marylène Gagné, Lauren Proud, Timothy C. Howle, Amanda L. Rebar and Ben Jackson

Sustained attention has been devoted to studying the factors that support (or thwart) individuals’ enjoyment of, interest in, and value judgments regarding their exercise activities. We employed a resistance-inducing (i.e., inoculation theory) messaging technique with the aim of protecting these desirable perceptions in the face of environmental conditions designed to undermine one’s positive exercise experiences. Autonomously motivated exercisers (N = 146, Mage = 20.57, SD = 4.02) performed a 25-min, group-based, instructor-led exercise circuit, in which the activities were deliberately monotonous, and during which the confederate instructor acted in a disinterested, unsupportive, and critical manner. Shortly before the session, participants received either a control message containing general information about the exercise class or an inoculation message containing a forewarning about potential challenges to participants’ enjoyment/interest/value perceptions during the class, as well as information about how participants might maintain positive perceptions in the face of these challenges. Despite there being no between-conditions differences in presession mood or general exercise motives, inoculated (relative to control) participants reported greater interest/enjoyment in the exercise session and higher perceptions of need support from the instructor. Perceptions of need support mediated the relationship between message condition and interest/enjoyment.