Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Objective

Physical education (PE) programs aim to promote physical activity (PA) and reach most school-aged youth. However, PA levels within PE lessons are often low. In this cluster-randomized controlled trial, we examined the effects of three self-determination theory-based motivational strategies on PA and sedentary behavior, as well as their hypothesized antecedents during PE lessons.

Methods

Data were collected in Sydney, Australia (October–December 2011). After baseline testing, teachers (n = 16) and their classes (n = 288 students; M = 13.6 years, 50.4% male) were randomly assigned to one of four teaching strategy conditions: (1) explaining relevance; (2) providing choice; (3) complete free choice; or (4) usual practice. Teachers then delivered the assigned strategy. Primary outcomes were accelerometer-assessed PA and student motivation during lessons. Secondary outcomes included sedentary behavior, perceptions of teachers' support and psychological needs satisfaction.

Results

The ‘free choice’ intervention increased PA (p < .05). ‘Providing choice’ and ‘free choice’ interventions decreased sedentary behavior (p < .05). The interventions did not influence motivation, but students' autonomy increased during both choice-based interventions (p < .05).

Conclusions

Promoting choice can produce short-term increases in PA and decreases in sedentary behavior, as well as increased perceived autonomy during PE lessons.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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