Predicting motivational regulations in physical education: The interplay between dispositional goal orientations, motivational climate and perceived competence

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Colleges, School and Institutes


In this study, we examined the main and interactive effects of students' goal orientations, perceived competence and perceptions of the motivational climate on the motivational styles advanced by self-determination theory. The participants were 328 British secondary school students aged 13.6 +/- 0.6 years (mean +/- s). Moderated hierarchical regression analyses revealed task orientation, perceived competence and perceptions of a mastery climate to be positive predictors of self-determined styles of motivation. Perceived competence in physical education was negatively associated with amotivation. Significant interaction effects for mastery climate x task orientation and for ego orientation x perceived competence emerged. The results indicate that: (1) for students endorsing a high task orientation, the perception that the class climate was high in mastery cues was associated with increased intrinsic motivation; and (2) for students high in ego orientation, the belief that one was competent increased, while perceptions of incompetence attenuated intrinsic motivation. Additionally, a three-way interaction between ego orientation, performance climate and perceived competence emerged. In light of achievement goal and self-determination frameworks, we propose that studying the potential interplay between both individual and situational goal perspectives and the moderating effect of perceived competence may further enhance our understanding of motivation in physical education.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-647
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • achievement goals, physical education, self-determination theory, competence