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Alfred Ruetten, Annika Frahsa, Luuk Engbers, Narcis Gusi, Jorge Mota, Rimantas Pacenka, Jens Troelsen, Jana Vasickova and Anne Vuillemin

Background:

A multilevel theoretical framework of physical activity (PA) promotion that addresses supportive environments, PA behavior, community action, and PA promoting policies is related to research and development in an international comparative study.

Methods:

Most-different and most-similar case selection was applied to data from 8 European Union Member States. Data from semistructured key informant qualitative interviews, focus group interviews with experts and policy-makers, as well as document analysis were linked to corresponding Eurobarometer data.

Results:

The framework on the interplay of environment, PA behavior, community action and policies appears to be working across most different countries. Comprehensive systems of PA infrastructures are interlinked with relatively high levels of PA prevalence. These countries implement comprehensive national policies on PA promotion and show a positive perception of related local governments’ engagement. Less comprehensive systems of infrastructures interplay with lower levels of PA prevalence, less community action and fewer policies. Differences between similar cases are linked to country-specific contexts.

Conclusions:

Framework application and comparative analysis indicates how to relate theory to empirical research and complex data sets. In-depth analysis of country-specific contexts and longitudinal observation on changes within and between countries might advise on how to integrate the framework into intervention research.

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Tao Zhang, Melinda A. Solmon, Maria Kosma, Russell L. Carson and Xiangli Gu

Using self-determination theory as a framework, the purpose of this study was to test a structural model of hypothesized relationships among perceived need support from physical education teachers (autonomy support, competence support, and relatedness support), psychological need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, and relatedness), intrinsic motivation, and physical activity. Participants were 286 middle school students in the southeastern U.S. They completed previously validated questionnaires assessing their perceived need support from teachers, need satisfaction, intrinsic motivation, and physical activity. The hypothesized model demonstrated a good fit with the data (RMSEA = .08; CFI = .97; NFI = .96; GFI = .96). Need satisfaction and intrinsic motivation mediated the relationship between need support and physical activity. The constructs of perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness represent the nutriments that facilitate students’ intrinsic motivation and ultimately positively predict students’ physical activity. The findings supported the theoretical tenets of self-determination theory.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen and Jan Seghers

Based on the self-determination theory, this study investigated the mediating role of the satisfaction of the three psychological needs (need for competence, relatedness and autonomy) in the relation between need support from the physical education (PE) teacher and autonomous motivation to engage in PE and between the physical school environment and autonomous motivation to engage in PE. Data were collected from 2418 6th grade children. Analyses were performed using bootstrapping. The results showed that perceptions of competence and autonomy mediated the relation between need support from the PE teacher and autonomous motivation. Moreover, the perception of autonomy also mediated the relation between the physical school environment and autonomous motivation. These findings suggest that not only the PE teacher but also the physical school environment is able to promote autonomous motivation by satisfying the need for autonomy.

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Cindy Rutten, Filip Boen, Nathalie Vissers and Jan Seghers

Based on Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), this study tested whether changes in autonomous motivation toward physical education (AMPE) during the transition from elementary to secondary school can be predicted by changes in perceived need support from the physical education (PE) teacher and perceived physical school environment. Self-reported data were gathered from 472 Flemish (northern part of Belgium) students in 6th grade (2009) and again in 8th grade (2011). Mediation analyses showed that an increase in perceived need support from the PE teacher was related to an increase in AMPE (boys: β = .42; girls: β = .50). In boys, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived competence (β = .08). In girls, this relation was mediated by changes in perceived autonomy (β = .12), perceived competence (β = .14), and perceived relatedness (β = .05). This study shows that PE teachers should be need-supportive to maintain a good quality of motivation in students.

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Leslie K. Larsen, Leslee A. Fisher, Terilyn C. Shigeno, Matthew P. Bejar and Melissa N. Madeson

autonomy-supportive environment. The model includes three factors that directly influence coaches’ behaviors as follows: (a) coaches’ personal orientation, (b) the coaching context, and (c) coaches’ perceptions of athlete behavior and motivation. The coach’s autonomy-supportive behavior/environment, the

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Sophie Knights, Emma Sherry, Mandy Ruddock-Hudson and Paul O’Halloran

would help to reduce uncertainty and set clear expectations. Supportive Environment Two main themes were identified within the second domain in this study: social support and organizational support. Similar to previous research, participants indicated that their key social support networks were

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Venurs H.Y. Loh, Jerome N. Rachele, Wendy J. Brown, Fatima Ghani and Gavin Turrell

supportive environments for physical activity, may have beneficial impacts on the population’s physical function. The National Heart Foundation of Australia, 65 for example, has promulgated a blueprint for community and neighborhood designs that support active living. These include the enhancement of

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Kami N. Thews, Zachary K. Winkelmann, Lindsey E. Eberman, Kirsten A. Potts and Kenneth E. Games

Firefighters are exposed to psychological stress while on duty that could lead to mental and behavioral illnesses that may go unreported. We surveyed firefighters to identify their perceived barriers encountered when attempting to report a mental and behavioral illness with a follow-up question related to how difficult the selected barrier was in the reporting process. A total of 314 firefighters completed the instrument, with most indicating they experienced cultural barriers such as social norms from administration and peers. The findings demonstrate an overall demand for a cultural change within the fire service for a supportive environment that encourages reporting.

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Kathleen F. Janz and Shelby L. Francis

Although there is strong and consistent evidence that childhood and adolescent physical activity is osteogenic, the evidence concerning its sustained effects to adult bone health is not conclusive. Therefore the value of interventions, in addition to beneficial bone adaptation, could be exposure to activities children enjoy and therefore continue. As such, interventions should provide skills, pleasure, and supportive environments to ensure continued bone-strengthening physical activity with age. Until the dose-response as well as timing of physical activity to bone health is more fully understood, it is sensible to assume that physical activity is needed throughout the lifespan to improve and maintain skeletal health. Current federal guidelines for health-related physical activity, which explicitly recommend bone-strengthening physical activities for youth, should also apply to adults.

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Afroditi Stathi and Piers Simey

Life in the Fourth Age has been typified as a time of continued functional decline and reduced quality of life. Exercise might positively affect this experience. This study explored the exercise experiences of nursing home residents age 86–99 years who participated in a 6-month exercise intervention. An interpretive phenomeno-logical approach was adopted. Twenty-one interviews were held with 14 residents at baseline and 7 residents at follow-up. Although their expectations were initially conservative, by the end of the intervention participants noted improved quality of life through better mobility, decreased fear of falling, and feelings of achievement and success. They valued the program as an opportunity to do something for themselves, to add something to their weekly routine, to meet other people, and to be more active generally. The professionalism of the exercise instructor appears to have been critical, balancing principles of safe and effective practice with the need to ensure that participants had fun in a supportive environment.