Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



It is well documented that elementary school children do not participate in recommended amounts of physical activity, and that elementary physical education programs generally are unable to insure that children engage in appropriate amounts of activity. One solution to this dilemma is to increase children’s activity levels through collaborative efforts such as whole school programs involving the classroom teachers. If this approach is to be successful, it is important to investigate ways that elementary classroom teachers can be actively involved in school level programs that will ultimately increase children’s physical activity levels. Elementary classroom teachers are often responsible for at least a portion of the instructional requirements in physical education, but tend to view this responsibility negatively. Self-efficacy is a powerful theoretical approach for determining and improving a person’s participatory behavior and their perseverance in the face of obstacles. This study investigates self-efficacy as a framework to facilitate the involvement of classroom teachers in whole school physical activity programs. The purpose was to investigate how teachers’ self-efficacy influences their participatory behavior. This was an experimental design involving 148 classroom teachers and their classes from 11 elementary schools (six experimental, six control). Instruments were employed to assess and explain teachers’ self-efficacy strength and sources, teachers’ participation, and students’ participation in a nine-week physical activity intervention. Statistical analyses of the quantitative data confirmed support for (a) self-efficacy theory’s predictive aspects of teacher’s participatory behavior in innovative physical activity programs, (b) a causal relationship between the level of teachers’ participation and their subsequent self-efficacy, (c) emerging theories of self-efficacy’s malleability. The themes that emerged from the analyses of the qualitative data reflected the belief that (a) environmental influence on teachers’ capability beliefs, though still prominent, decreases after actual participation in a program, (b) during participation, teachers shift importance away from more abstract factors to more concrete factors, (c) teachers with enhanced efficacy are more able to negotiate environmental barriers, confirming a central tenet of self-efficacy theory and explaining the findings of the quantitative part of this research project.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Melinda A. Solmon



Included in

Kinesiology Commons