The relative roles of physical education teachers and parents in adolescents’ leisure-time physical activity motivation and behavior

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Abstract

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to explore the relative contributions of perceived parent and physical education teacher autonomy support, involvement, and modeling to adolescent leisure-time physical activity motivation and behavior within the framework of self-determination theory.

Design:

Cross-sectional survey.

Method:

161 Middle school students completed a paper survey which assessed the study variables.

Results:

Three sets of models were tested that examined the relationships of autonomy support, involvement, and modeling from mothers, fathers, and physical education teachers to adolescent leisure-time physical activity self-determined motivation and behavior. In the models, each social support variable had a significant, positive, direct relationship to motivation, and a significant, positive, indirect relationship to physical activity behavior mediated by motivation. Further, the relationships between social support from each significant other and motivation were of similar magnitude.

Conclusions:

Mothers and fathers both play modest, yet significant roles in their adolescent’s leisure-time physical activity motivation. Additionally, physical education teachers, although not present in the leisure-time physical activity context, serve an equally important role in supporting adolescents’ leisure-time physical activity. Lastly, adolescent self-determined motivation for leisure-time physical activity is a strong determinant of self-reported leisure-time physical activity behavior.

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