Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



Considerable literature in self-determination theory (SDT) establishes satisfaction of basic psychological needs related to competence, autonomy, and relatedness as important determinants of well-being and motivation. Despite the abundance of SDT literature, few studies provide an investigation of autonomy support and autonomy thwart within an experimental design. Using SDT as a guiding framework, the effects of autonomy support (AS) versus autonomy thwart (AT) were examined within an exergaming context. Specifically, this study investigated the impact of autonomy support / thwart on five variables: perceived autonomy need satisfaction and autonomy thwart, affect, game performance, and willingness to recommend the study to others. Students (N = 75) aged 18 to 25 years participated in lab sessions assessing study variables. One-way and factorial ANOVAs revealed that (a) participants in the AS condition reported higher levels of autonomy support and lower levels of autonomy thwart than the control and AT condition, (b) students in the AT group reported higher levels of autonomy thwart and lower levels of autonomy support than the control or AS condition, (c) AT students indicated greater negative affect from baseline to post-test compared to the AS and control participants, and (d) AS and control participants reported an increase in positive affect while the AT group demonstrated a slight decline in positive affect that was not significant. Results align with previous SDT research regarding social-contextual environments. Furthermore, findings suggest that leaders within a learning environment should consider pedagogical choices and contextual manipulations that elicit AS in order to promote optimal functioning from the subjects in their care.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garn, Alex



Included in

Kinesiology Commons