Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

Committee Chair

Melissa Thompson

Committee Chair Department

Human Performance and Recreation

Committee Member 2

Nancy Speed

Committee Member 2 Department

Human Performance and Recreation

Committee Member 3

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 4

Dennis Phillips

Committee Member 4 Department

Human Performance and Recreation

Committee Member 5

Stacey Hall

Committee Member 5 Department

Human Performance and Recreation


Inactivity, obesity and associated medical, social and economic problems are pervasive in contemporary society. Modern science is aware of the preventative role physical activity offers in deterrence of these problems and the benefits physical education offers. Traditionally, physical education has focused primarily on physiological variables; however, physical activity begins with a behavioral change. Motivation is the necessary factor to initiate physical activity and self-determination theory (SDT) can be used to explain learner motivation in the world of collegiate physical education. Institutionalized schooling is typically performed in a controlling nature, which creates a poor environment for learning and motivation. The purpose of this study was to examine college students’ self-determination to be physically active along with perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness using perspectives of self-determination theory. Variables of SDT were used to structure a motivational pedagogical environment to increase student motivation. The population for this study was limited to college students at a university in the Southeast. A total of 69 students participated in two six week HPR 101 weight training classes. Two primary instruments were used to determine levels of self-determination as based on SDT. The Learning Climate Questionnaire was used as a manipulation check. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, means, and standard deviations) and a multivariate analysis of variance were used to conduct the analysis. Results showed amotivation, external regulation, introjected regulation, intrinsic regulation, autonomy, competence and relatedness all increased with treatment but not significantly between control and experimental groups. SDT is an excellent means to use as a methodology to increase motivation in physical education pedagogy.