Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



Physical inactivity is a prevalent problem in the United States associated with numerous health risk factors. Over half the population fails to meet prescribed physical activity recommendations, suggesting that individuals become less active as they age. It is important to observe individuals in the Physical Education setting because it is an ideal environment to provide meaningful physical activity, while promoting lifetime physical activity. This research sought to understand motivational behaviors in high school adolescents, attempting to draw links between physical education, student satisfaction, and leisure-time physical activity. Three research questions were present: (1) What relationships do high school student perceive among the motivational climate, basic psychological need satisfaction, and the quality and quantity of motivation? (2) What does quantity of motivation and quality of motivation in PE add to the understanding of student satisfaction in PE? and (3) Is there a trans-contextual relationship between the quality and quantity of motivation in PE and leisure-time physical activity? The study was grounded in self-determination theory and achievement goal theory, while adding a “quantity of motivation” variable, a degree of motivational strength. Two secondary schools were observed, an all-male school and an all-female school, with cross-sectional analysis through questionnaires. Hierarchical multiple linear regression models sough to predict quality and quantity of motivation from perceptions of motivational climate and basic need satisfaction. Also, quality and quantity of motivation, including an interaction term, was used to predict domains of student satisfaction. Initial findings suggested that perceptions of mastery climates, competence and relatedness need support were significant predictors of quantity and quality of motivation. Quality of motivation was a significant predictor of social, emotional, and fitness satisfaction in PE students, while quantity of motivation significantly predicted emotional and fitness satisfaction. The interaction term suggested that motivation quantity raised emotional satisfaction in students with low to average RAI levels with no variability at high RAI levels. These results suggest the importance of motivational quantity on various forms of satisfaction. Its inclusion in future research may discover more links between PE and motivational behavior, ultimately promoting more physical activity.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garn, Alex



Included in

Kinesiology Commons