Value-Based Motivation for Physical Activity and Physical Education: A Case of College Students in China

Article excerpt

Expectancy-value theory asserts that intrinsic motivation is enhanced by values that one perceives in a behavior and is hindered by cost perceived associated with the behavior. Perceived values and cost play a significant longitudinal role in motivation in classrooms and in sports (Jacob et al., 2002). The purpose of this study was to examine the expectancy-value components (attainment, interest, utility values and cost; Eccels, 1987) in a mandatory university physical education setting and as related to serf-initiated physical activity. The data were collected individually from a random sample of 386 university students in China's key (highest ranking) universities where students are constantly under pressure to demonstrate the highest academic achievement. Self initiated physical activity was measured using Bouchard Three-Day Physical Activity Survey (Bouchard, 1987). The participants were taught to log in their activities each quarter hour every day for 3 days. The expectancy-values were measured using a modified version of Expectancy-Value Inventory (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995). Both instruments were translated into Chinese from English and were validated by bilingual Chinese-American scholars (N = 6) in physical education. Construct validation analysis showed high integrity of the expectancy-value structure with high factor loadings (.64-.99) for each value category. Constant comparison analysis on the open-ended survey data of cost revealed that 45% students thought the physical education curriculum did not meet their needs, which was de-motivating. …