Approach-avoidance motivation in physical education
thesisposted on 14.01.2014, 11:53 by Victoria E. Warburton
Physical education (PE) represents one of the most important physical settings in which to study motivational processes due to its uniqueness in including all young people with a wide range of physical abilities. Moreover, positive experiences in school PE are thought likely to enhance lifelong physical activity, giving PE an important role in influencing young people's involvement in physical activity both within and beyond the school curriculum. However, there is increasing concern over the physical activity levels of young people today, and understanding the changes in pupil's motivational processes during the time when they appear most at risk of declining levels of physical activity, may help researchers and physical educators intervene to offset the decline. Using Elliot's Hierarchical Model of Approach and A voidance Achievement Motivation (EIliot, , 1999; ElIiot & Church, 1997) as a theoretical basis, the purpose of this thesis was to examine pupil's approach-avoidance goal adoption in PE. Moreover, it was to determine the temporal pattern of approach-avoidance goals and the predictive utility of key antecedents, namely perceptions of competence and implicit theories of ability to these temporal patterns. Study 1 followed pupils across the primary to secondary school transition and examined their approach-avoidan,ce goals, implicit theories of ability and perceptions of competence prior to the transition and throughout Year 7 of secondary school. On the whole, the changes appeared to be suggestive of less adaptive motivationaf profiles, i.e., lower incremental beliefs, competence perceptions and mastery-approach (MAp) goal stnving. Competence perceptions and implicit theories of ability differed in their predictive utility of initial status and rate of change in approach-avoidance goal adoption.· The effects of perceived competence appeared to be stronger in Year 6 of primary school while the effects of implicit theories of ability were more apparent in Year 7 of secondary school. Furthermore, in Year 6 of primary school, boys exhibited a more adaptive motivational profile than girls which remained throughout Year 7 of secondary school. Study 2a examined approach-avoidance goals, implicit theories of ability and perceptions of competence in pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 of secondary school. Pupils completed measures on four occasions over a 9 month period. Goals and perceptions were tapped in relation to PE 'in general'. MAp, mastery-avoidance (MAv) and performance-avoidance (PAv) goals exhibited a linear decline over time, whereas performance-approach (PAp) goals showed no significant change. Theoretical propositions regarding the antecedents of approach-avoidance goal adoption were supported. Year group was found to moderate a number of these antecedent ...... goal relationships. Results suggest that Year 7 is a critical time for adolescents' motivation in school PE. Study 2b determined the influence of implicit theories of ability and competence perceptions on changes in approach-avoidance goal adoption in two specific activities in the PE curriculum. In both tennis and cricket, differences between pupils were more likely than differences between classes to account for changes in implicit theories, perceptions of competence and approach-avoidance goals over the course of a unit of work. Controlling for prior approach-avoidance goal adoption, 'incremental beliefs predicted change in MAp goal adoption and perceptions of competence predicted change in PAp goal adoption over the unit of work in both tennis and cricket. Differences in the predictive pattern of antecedents to changes in goal adoption emerged between activities. The final study (study 3) provided a more-fine grained analysis of normative achievement goal adoption in specific activities in PE by differentiating between approach-avoidance and appearance-competition performance goals. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the delineation off our performance goals. In line with the Hierarchical Model of Approach and Avoidance Achievement Motivation, partial support for the mediating role of performance goals was observed, but entity beliefs and perceptions of a performance climate' each exerted a direct positive effect on self-handicapping in PE. The addition of the appearance-competition distinction to performance approach-avoidance goals revealed differences in the direction and magnitude of the antecedent ...... goal and goal ...... outcome relationships. The results of these four studies contained within the present thesis provide interesting insights into pupils' approach avoidance motivation in PE at both the contextual and activity specific level. The changes in pupils' motivation, on the whole, are indicative of less adaptive motivational profiles as they progress through their school career. Implicit theories of ability and competence perceptions appear to play a role in offsetting this decline but future research endeavours should continue to pursue longitudinal research to identify other key predictors of within-and between-pupil change. This will ensure that achievement motivation research in the PE context is well placed to help educators promote more adaptive motivational processes and outcomes that sustain participation in physical activity.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences