Background/Purpose Perceived physical competence is recognized for its strong association with physical activity behavior (see Weiss & Amorose, 2008 for review). Perceptions of competence can come from multiple sources (Horn & Ambrose, 1998). These sources of competence (SOC) include both self-referenced (e.g., learning skills) and normative-referenced (e.g., peer comparisons). Previous research in the sport domain has found that SOC may vary according to the perceived motivational climate (PMC) with more self-referenced SOC being associated with a task-involving climate (Halliburton & Weiss, 2002). Thus, the purpose of this study was to extend this work by exploring the relationships between SOC and PMC among college students in physical activity courses.
Method Approximately seven weeks into their physical activity courses, college students were asked to complete an on-line survey regarding their sources of competence and the perceived motivational climate created by teachers. Three hundred and sixteen students completed surveys.
Analysis/Results Participants perceived a high task-involving climate (M=4.04) and low ego-involving climate (M=1.66). Additionally, students reported that enjoyment, learning skills, self-comparisons, and teacher interaction were all somewhat important SOCs. Further, a task-involving climate was positively correlated to enjoyment, learning skills, and teacher interaction SOCs (r=.36, .34, .26, respectively). An ego-involving climate was positively related to peer comparison SOC and negatively associated enjoyment and learning skills SOCs (r=.14, -.15, -.15 respectively).
Preliminary evidence was provided that perceptions of the motivational climate were conceptually aligned with appropriate SOC. Knowing which SOCs are associated with a task-involving climate could help teachers better structure their learning environment.