Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



The health benefits associated with appropriate levels of physical activity are well documented, but a large percentage of the population is not sufficiently active to attain those health benefits. Children are also not as active as they should be, and their activity levels decline during adolescence. Given that childhood activity patterns are likely to persist into adulthood, it is important to investigate ways to encourage children and adolescents to be physically active. Since virtually all school students participate in physical education programs, one way to do that is to explore ways that physical education programs can motivate children to be physically active. This study examined adolescents’ motivation in middle school physical education and in physically interactive video games within an expectancy-value model developed by Eccles and her colleagues (1983). One hundred and one eighth grade physical education students completed questionnaires assessing their expectancy-related beliefs, subjective task values, and intention for future participation in both the domains of physical education and physically interactive video games. Participants’ activity level was also assessed using the Godin and Shephard (1985) Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire. Results indicated that expectancy-related beliefs and subjective task values are domain specific. Expectancy-related beliefs and task values are positively related and both constructs are related to intention to participate in the future for both the domains of physical education and physically interactive video games. Expectancy-related beliefs, task values, and intentions across domains, however, were not related supporting the hypothesis that physically interactive video games represent a distinct domain from traditional physical education activities. Physical education was perceived as more important and more useful than physically interactive video games, but findings suggest that girls and less active students found physically interactive video games to be more interesting than traditional physical education activities. Taken together, the findings suggest that physically interactive video games could be a useful tool in physical education programs to increase physical activity levels for students who are at risk for low levels of physical activity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Solmon, Melinda A.



Included in

Kinesiology Commons