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Tao Zhang, Melinda A. Solmon and Xiangli Gu

Examining how teachers’ beliefs and behaviors predict students’ motivation and achievement outcomes in physical education is an area of increasing research interest. Guided by the expectancy-value model and self-determination theory, the major purpose of this study was to examine the predictive strength of teachers’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness support toward students’ expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, concentration, and persistence/effort in physical education. Participants were 273 middle school students (143 girls, 130 boys) enrolled in a southeastern suburban public school. They completed previously validated questionnaires assessing their perceived teachers’ support for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, concentration, and self-reported persistence/effort during their regular classes. The results highlight the importance of teachers’ competence support and autonomy support in fostering students’ motivational constructs and achievement outcomes in physical education. The findings demonstrate that a supportive environment and high levels of expectancy-related beliefs and subjective task values are positively associated with students’ achievement outcomes in physical education.

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Tristan L. Wallhead and Nikos Ntoumanis

This study looked at the influence of a Sport Education intervention program on students’ motivational responses in a high school physical education setting. Two intact groups were assigned curricular interventions: the Sport Education group (n = 25), which received eight 60-min lessons, and the comparison group (n = 26), which received a traditional teaching approach to sport-based activity. Pre- and postintervention measures of student enjoyment, perceived effort, perceived competence, goal orientations, perceived motivational climate, and perceived autonomy were obtained for both groups. Repeated-measures ANOVAs showed significant increases in student enjoyment and perceived effort in the Sport Education group only. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that increases in task-involving climate and perceived autonomy explained a significant amount of unique variance in the Sport Education students’ postintervention enjoyment, perceived effort, and perceived competence responses. The results suggest that the Sport Education curriculum may increase perceptions of a task-involving climate and perceived autonomy, and in so doing, enhance the motivation of high school students toward physical education.

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Deborah L. Feltz

This investigation contrasted path analysis models for 40 males and 40 females based on the predictions of Feltz's (1982) respecification model of Ban-dura' s (1977) self-efficacy theory in the approach/avoidance of two trials of a modified back dive. The hypothesized (respecified) model proposed that previous related experiences, self-efficacy, and heart rate predicted initial back-diving performance and that previous performance and self-efficacy predicted subsequent performance. The hypothesized model also proposed that self-efficacy mediates the influence of autonomic perception of arousal on performance. Results indicated that males had lower state anxiety and autonomic perception scores than females on the first trial. No differences occurred for back-diving performance, self-efficacy, or heart rate. Path analysis results indicated that the hypothesized model fit the data better for females than for males, though it left much unexplained variance for both males and females. Females showed a reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and performance, whereas males showed a reciprocal relationship between autonomic perception and heart rate. Previous performance and self-efficacy were strong predictors of subsequent performance for both males and females.

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David V.B. James, Linda J. Reynolds and Sara Maldonado-Martin


Heart rate variability (HRV) has been promoted as a noninvasive method of evaluating autonomic influence on cardiac rhythm. Although female subjects predominate in the walking studies, no study to date has examined the influence of the duration of a moderate intensity walking physical activity bout on HRV in this population.


Twelve healthy physically active middle-aged women undertook 2 conditions; 20min (W20) and 60min (W60) bouts of walking on a treadmill. Resting HRV measures were obtained before (−1 h), and 1 h and 24 h after the walking bouts.


Mean NN interval (ie, normal-to-normal intervals between adjacent QRS complexes) was significantly lower (P = .017) at +1 h in W60 (832, 686−979ms) compared with W20 (889, 732−1046ms). A borderline main effect for time was observed for both the SDNN intervals in W60 (P = .056), and for low frequency (LFabs) power in W60 (P = .047), with post hoc tests revealing a significant increase between −1 h (51, 33−69 ms and 847, 461−1556 ms2) and +1 h (65, 34−97ms and 1316, 569−3042 ms2) for SDNN and LFabs power, respectively, but no increase at +24h compared with −1 h.


It appears that a walking bout of 60 min duration does alter cardiac autonomic influence in healthy active women, and this alteration is not evident after 20 min of walking. Given the rather subtle effect, further studies with larger sample sizes are required to explore the nature of the changes in cardiac autonomic influence following a prolonged bout of walking.

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Sima Zach, Hanan Stein, Tamar Sivan, Israel Harari and Noa Nabel-Heller

This article explored how 45 novice physical education teachers perceived success, and how success affected their motivation to continue teaching. Self-determination theory (SDT) was used to interpret the teachers’ written reports, and focus group discussions were held concerning their success. Satisfaction with the competence, relatedness, and autonomy of the teachers’ needs were related to the teachers’ perception of success. Based on the findings, we contend that SDT can have strong implications for both school life and professional development facilitators. We suggest that strengthening certain aspects of success from the very beginning of the teaching experience may lead to a better adjustment to teaching.

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Richard Winsley

Adults’ cardiac autonomic regulation during exercise and in relation to peak oxygen uptake is well understood, however the situation in children is sparsely documented. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis provides a non-invasive tool to research sympathovagal balance. A predominance of parasympathetic mediated modulation is characterized by a greater degree of HRV and vice versa. The available data indicate the child’s response to be similar to that observed in adults; heart rate increase arises through withdrawal of parasympathetic modulation with ensuing increase in sympathetic modulation; aerobic training increases HRV and a positive correlation between peak oxygen uptake and a parasympathetic preponderance.

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Sarah H. Whitehead, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Toni M. O’Donovan and Mary E. Nevill

Few studies have addressed factors influencing Scottish adolescent girls’ participation in physical activity (PA). Participants (N = 352) aged 11 to 16 years completed surveys measuring PA participation and potential social-psychological and physical-environmental correlates. Data were analyzed separately by two age groups (11-13 and 14-16 years). For younger girls, mother’s participation, perceived importance, and home equipment use were higher among those higher in PA. For older girls, perceived importance, home equipment use, neighborhood perceptions, and use and enjoyment of local facilities were higher among girls higher in PA. It seems that older girls place less importance on significant others and move toward autonomy away from the home.

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Emily Kroshus and J.D. DeFreese

Athlete burnout is an important psychological health concern that may be influenced by coach behaviors. Participants were 933 collegiate soccer coaches who described their utilization of burnout prevention strategies. Deductive content analysis was used to categorize and interpret responses. The most frequently endorsed prevention strategies involved managing/limiting physical stressors. Reducing nonsport stressors and promoting autonomy and relatedness were also endorsed. Motivational climate changes and secondary prevention strategies were infrequently reported. These findings can help inform the design of educational programming to ensure that all coaches are aware of the range of ways in which they can help prevent athlete burnout.

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Jo Batey and Helen Owton

Maintaining involvement in sport and exercise activities is a challenge for mothers with young children. This study therefore qualitatively explores the experiences of 7 mothers who have managed to remain physically active in team sports exploring how the team environment might meet their psychological needs. We analyze the results through Self-Determination Theory (SDT). Semistructured interviews were thematically analyzed to reveal the following themes: perceived benefits of sport, perceived benefits of being part of a team, needing time out from being a mother, social support and empowerment and self-determination. Feelings of competence, autonomy and relatedness were interwoven to these themes thus demonstrating the applicability of SDT to this domain.

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Ken Hodge, Chris Lonsdale and Susan A. Jackson

In this exploratory study, we examined hypothesized antecedents (basic psychological needs) and consequences (dispositional flow) of athlete engagement (AE); plus the extent to which AE mediated the relationship between basic needs and flow. Structural equation modeling with a sample of 201 elite Canadian athletes (60.20% female, mean age = 22.92 years) showed that needs satisfaction (particularly competence & autonomy) predicted athlete engagement (30% explained variance); and needs satisfaction and athlete engagement predicted dispositional flow (68% explained variance). AE partially mediated the relationship between needs satisfaction and flow. Practical suggestions are offered for needs-supportive coaching programs designed to increase both AE and flow.