Developmental Trajectories of Motivation in Physical Education: Course, Demographic Differences, and Antecedents

Nikolaos Ntoumanis, V Barkoukis, Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani

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This study investigated changes in student motivation to participate in physical education and some determinants of these changes over a period of three years. Measures were taken twice a year, from the age of 13 until the age of 15 years, from a sample of Greek junior high school students. Multilevel modeling analyses showed significant decreases in task-involving teacher climate, relatedness, identified regulation, and intrinsic motivation. In contrast, there were significant increases in ego-involving climate and amotivation. For some of these variables the observed linear decreases or increases were somewhat reversed by the beginning of the last year of the junior high school. No significant changes were observed in competence need satisfaction and in extrinsic and introjected regulations. We found substantial between-student variability in the intercepts and growth trajectories of most variables and, therefore, we tested a number of theoretical and demographic predictors to partly account for such variations. The results indicated that increases in maladaptive motivation in physical education over time are not uniform across all students and may be partly tackled by facilitating competence need satisfaction. Keywords: Self-determination theory, changes in motivation, Greek students, psychological need satisfaction, motivational regulations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-728
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • Greek students
  • changes in motivation
  • psychological need satisfaction
  • motivational regulations
  • self-determination theory


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