Physical activity motivation in the year following high school: Assessing stability and appropriate analytical approaches

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Objectives:Recent research (Martin, in press; Martin et al., 2006) presented a new, multidimensional approach to physical activity motivation (using the Physical Activity Motivation Scale – PAMS and its revised and shortened version, PAMS–R).Design:The present study extends this cross-sectional work by assessing the stability of physical activity motivation between students’ completion of school and one year following school (the study's substantive focus) – a vital transition point for physical activity leading into early adulthood. It also examines the most appropriate methods for assessing the issue of stability using a latent variable modeling approach (the study's methodological focus).Methods:A total of 213 participants were administered the PAMS–R in their final year of high school (Time 1) and again one year later (Time 2).Results:In terms of the substantive focus, findings demonstrated only modest stability in correlations between parallel factors across Times 1 and 2.Discussion:On this basis, it was concluded that with more than half the variance in motivation unexplained across Times 1 and 2, it appears that other factors are also relevant to levels of physical activity motivation in the year following completion of high school. In terms of the methodological focus, it was found that analyses of stability using latent variable modeling should correlate parallel Time 1–Time 2 uniquenesses to most accurately estimate parameters across time.

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