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The Importance of Supporting Adolescents’ Autonomy in Promoting Physical-Sport Exercise

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2013

Juan Antonio Moreno-Murcia
Affiliation:
Universidad Miguel Hernández (Spain)
Elisa Huéscar Hernández*
Affiliation:
Universidad Miguel Hernández (Spain)
*
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elisa Huéscar Hernández. Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche. Departamento de Psicología de la Salud. Edificio Altamira. Avenida de la Universidad, s/n. 03202. Elche (Spain). Phone.+34–966658525. E-mail: ehuescar@umh.es

Abstract

This study was conducted toward the objective of analyzing certain factors that influence physical activity in Spanish adolescent students using self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2000) as a framework. Participants included 698 physical education students whose perception of the autonomy support provided by their teachers was assessed in and out of the class context. Also assessed were social goals of responsibility and relationship with others, basic psychological needs, and intrinsic motivation, which is part of self-determination theory (SDT). Finally, the “intention” factor posited by the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and students’ rate of exercise in the last twelve months were considered. The results of structural equations modeling suggest autonomy education, autonomy support, and social goals positively predicted certain psychological mediators, which in turn positively predicted students’ intrinsic motivation, which was a positive predictor of intention, and that of rate of exercise. The results also highlight the benefit of promoting autonomy to enhance students’ physical exercise practice.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2013 

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Footnotes

This research was made possible through the project “Desarrollo de estrategias sociales para el incremento de los niveles de actividad física y salud en adolescentes: una aproximación desde la teoría de la autodeterminación [Development of social strategies for increasing physical activity levels and health in adolescents: an approach from the theory of self-determination]” (DEP2009–10610), financed by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the call for “Proyectos de Investigación Fundamental de la Dirección General de Investigación y Gestión del Plan Nacional de I+D+i”.

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