Perceived Competence, Motivation, and Physical Activity Participation Among College Students

Friday, April 1, 2011: 9:00 AM
Room 26B (Convention Center)
Jianyu Wang1, Wenhao Liu2, Wei Bian2 and Li Yan3, (1)California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA, (2)Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, (3)Wuhan Institute of Physical Education, Wuhan, China

Background/Purpose While there are many reports in the relationship among perceived competence, motivation, and physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents, little is known about college students in this aspect. This study was intended to examine the relationship among perceived competence, motivation, and PA in college students.

Method Participants were 230 college students (160 females) with a mean age of 22.64.72. The participants completed three surveys. The perceived competence survey was adapted from the literature (Williams & Deci, 1996) assessing perceived competence in swimming, tennis, basketball and golf. The Motives for Physical Activity Measures (Ryan et al., 1997) was used to measure motivation for PA in five components (enjoyment, challenge, appearance, fitness, and social). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (Ainsworth et al., 2006) was used to measure PA level.

Analysis/Results Reliability coefficient was .78 for the perceived competence survey and .91 for the motivation survey. Pearson correlation results revealed that PA was significantly related to perceived motor competences (p < .05), with r values ranging from .25 to .32 in basketball, swimming, tennis, and golf. PA was also significantly associated with motivation (p < .01), with r values ranging from .61 to .90 for each motivation component (enjoyment, challenge, appearance, fitness, and social).

Conclusions The findings indicate a significant association between the perceived motor competences and PA level for college students, consistent with the existing literature for children. Also, the study suggests that both intrinsic motives (e.g., enjoyment) and extrinsic motive (e.g., appearance) for PA may positively affect college students' PA engagement.