The effect of teacher and peers need support on students’ motivation in physical education and its relationship to leisure time physical activity
Keywords: adolescents, psychological needs, self-determination, significant others, structural equation modelling
AbstractThis study examined the effect of perceived need support from both the teacher and peers on students’ leisure-time physical activity behaviour through the motivational processes within physical education (PE). In line with self-determination theory, it was hypothesized that perceived satisfaction of the basic psychological needs would mediate the relationships between perceived need support and students’ autonomous motivation towards PE. Autonomous motivation, in turn, was expected to affect students’ leisure time physical activity behaviour. School students (n=656) ages 12–16 years completed questionnaires assessing their motivational processes towards PE, as well as their leisuretime physical activity behaviour. Results of the structural equation modelling revealed that perceived need support from both the teacher and peers had significant and positive effects on perceptions of all three basic psychological needs in PE. Only perceived need support from the teacher, however, had significant direct and indirect effect on autonomous motivation via the perceived competence. Furthermore, only perceived need support from the teacher has indirect effect on students’ leisure-time physical activity behaviour through the perceived autonomy and competence. Results suggest that perceived need support from both the teacher and peers are essential antecedents to perceived psychological needs satisfaction in PE, whereas only perceived need support from the teacher is essential antecedent to autonomous motivation towards PE, but also students’ leisure-time physical activity behaviour.