Psychosocial Predictors of Children's Physical Activity and Quality of Life

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Poster Area 1 (Foyer Outside Exhibit Hall C) (Convention Center)
Xiangli Gu, University of North Texas, Denton, TX and Melinda A. Solmon, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Background/Purpose: One important goal of school physical education (PE) is to promote children's physical activity and health (USDHHS, 2010). Assessing and promoting physical activity (PA) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) have become major issues in pediatric public health.  Identifying theoretically-based predictors of these constructs is an important area of study. Grounded in the expectancy-value model (Eccles et al., 1983) and achievement goal theory (Ames, 1992), the purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among the perceptions of the motivational climate in PE, expectancy-value beliefs, PA, and HRQOL among children.

Method: Participants were 336 elementary children (M age = 9.87; 179 girls, 157 boys) who completed a set of previously validated questionnaires assessing motivational constructs and HRQOL. Children's PA levels were assessed by using a 7 day recall (PAQ-C) and three-day pedometer counts (steps/min during PE).

Analysis/Results: Correlational analyses showed that expectancy-related beliefs and task values were positively related to PA and HRQOL. Regression analyses indicated that perception of a mastery motivational climate had a positive effect on children's expectancy beliefs, which in turn contributed to children's HRQOL. Task values emerged as the mediator of the relationship between perception of a performance motivational climate and pedometer counts.

Conclusions: A mastery motivational climate together with high expectancy beliefs has a positive association with HRQOL, which in turn could produce health benefits in the future. Results suggest that a performance motivational climate could be associated with less activity (i.e. lower steps/min) even when students value PE.