JTRM in Kinesiology - ISSN 0778-3906


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Published in “JTRM in Kinesiology” an online peer-reviewed research and practice journal -December 18th, 2017

“Examining Associations among Motivation, Physical Activity and Health in Chinese College Students: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective "

Wenxi Liu,1 Xianxiong Li,2 Ph.D; Nan Zeng,1  MEd; Mohammad Ayyub1; MEd; Mohammad Ayyub3;M.Ed; Kun Tao,4 PhD; Qingwen Peng,4 PhD;

  • 1. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • 2. Hunan Normal University, School of Physical Education, Changsha, China
  • 3. Shenzhen Polytechnic University, Department of Physical Education, Shenzhen, China
  • 4 Huaihua University, School of Physical Education, Huaihua, China


This study was designed to investigate the associations among motives and physical activity behaviors and health in urban college students in China. Eight hundred and eighty-seven college students (521 females; Mage = 20.51, SD = ± 1.67) were recruited from four universities in South and South-central China. Participants’ motives (i.e., interest/enjoyment, competence, appearance, fitness, social) toward to physical activity behaviors were measured by the established Motives for Physical Activities Measure (Ryan et al., 1997), while physical activity behaviors were assessed via the validated International Physical Activity Questionnaires for Chinese (Macfarlane et al., 2007). The data were collected in June 2016 and 2017. Participants’ total metabolic equivalent (METs) was calculated as the outcome of physical activity behaviors. On average, participants reported 412 METs (SD = 290.82) of physical activity for the prior week. Correlation analysis suggested that all motive components were moderately or highly correlated with one another (r = 0.37 - 0.74; p < 0.01), and these variables were significantly, yet modestly, related to physical activity behaviors (r = 0.12 - 0.24; p < 0.05). Regression analyses further indicated that the whole model explained 24.5% of the variance [F (5, 394) = 5.02, p <.01] when using motives to predict physical activity behaviors. Interestingly, participants’ interest/enjoyment was the only significant and positive predictor for their physical activity (β = 0.23, p < 0.01). Findings suggest that Chinese college students were relatively physically active on a weekly basis. Students’ interest/enjoy toward physical activity is a very important motive in promoting physical activity behavior among this population. Health professionals and educators are encouraged to offer a variety of interesting and enjoyable activities for Chinese college students with the goal of helping this population develop and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

Keywords:Motivation, Physical activity behavior, Self-determination Theory

Category: Interdisciplinary P.E.

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