Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



Many children do not engage in the recommended levels of physical activity, and they ten to become even less active during adolescence. Girls are less active then boys, and it is important to explore ways that physical education teachers can foster girls’ motivation to be more physically active. The specific research questions for this study were: (a) How does gender class structure affect girls’ perception of the motivational climate?; and (b) How do girls’ views of the motivation climate in different gender class structures relate to intentions to participate in physical activity outside of physical education? A phenomenological framework guided the data collection and analysis when comparing and contrasting girls’ perceptions of the motivational climate in single-sex and coeducational physical education classes. Two secondary physical education classes were observed one in an all-female setting and the other in a coeducational setting. Students were observed in their physical education classes and through emergent sampling fifteen students were chosen to interview. Findings illustrate that a teacher’s personal qualities and teaching behaviors can have an effect on adolescent female motivation. Perception of the social environment was also an influencing factor on females’ motivation level, including perception of relatedness, gender structure, and comfort level. The findings show that when students’ source of comparison was internal, they were more likely have an outside interest in an activity, enjoy physical education, state that they were likely to participate in physical activity outside of physical education, and find utility in an activity. These results highlight the importance of physical educators providing a positive environment through feedback and encouragement for adolescent females. They also show that adolescent female comfort levels can be threatened when participating in a coeducational setting. Finally, in order to cultivate high motivational levels in adolescent females, goals established within physical education classes should be focused on internal rather than external goals.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garn, Alex



Included in

Kinesiology Commons