Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Physical Activity Motivation in Late Adolescence: Refinement of a Recent Multidimensional Model

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Physical Activity Motivation in Late Adolescence: Refinement of a Recent Multidimensional Model

Article excerpt

Recent research (Martin et al, 2006) presented a new, multidimensional approach to physical activity motivation (using the Physical Activity Motivation Scale [PAMS]) operationalized through fourfactors: adaptive cognition, adaptive behavior, impeding/maladaptive cognition, and maladaptive behavior. The present study extends this early research by recruiting a larger sample of 705 young people, in late adolescence, using a shortened form of PAMS (PAMS-Revised), and including physical and nonphysical correlates as a means of better understanding its validity. Findings confirmed a sound four-factor framework comprising reliable factors. Findings also demonstrated hypothesized relations between physical activity motivation and physical correlates and, to a lesser extent, between physical activity motivation and more general life correlates.

Key words: behavior, cognition, measurement, physical health and well being

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Physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles are major health risks (Amisola &Jacobson, 2003). Although there have been important developments in physical activity research and suggested directions (Dubbert, 2002; Sallis & Owen, 1999), a good deal still needs to be done to increase physical activity across all age groups. Prior research has identified physical activity motivation as an important element of physical activity and has demonstrated empirical links between the motivation to be physically active and actual physical activity (Martin, Tipler, Marsh, Richards, & Williams, 2006). In the Martin et al. (2006) study, a multidimensional model of physical activity was presented comprising adaptive cognition, adaptive behavior, impeding/maladaptive cognition, and maladaptive behavior. This model was assessed using the Physical Activity Motivation Scale (PAMS). Although promising and in some ways groundbreaking, this research had several limitations: the reasearchers investigated a relatively small sample in the early years of adolescence, used a lengthy instrument (relative to the number of factors estimated), and focused on physically oriented correlates to gather evidence about its validity. In concluding their study, Martin et al. (2006) recommended that future research extend that work by investigating physical activity motivation among larger samples, in other groups of young people, with a shorter form, and including other measures as a means of better understanding validity. The present study does precisely this, using a revised form of PAMS (PAMS-Revised) with a view to understanding better the role of physical activity motivation in physical activity levels and other correlates in late adolescence.

Physical Inactivity, Poor Health and Well Being, and Adolescence

A number of commentators and institutions have highlighted the important role the adolescent years play in establishing and shaping attitudes and behaviors relating to physical activity (e.g., see Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, 1998; Moag-Stahlberg, Miles, & Marcello, 2003; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Essentially, physical inactivity patterns that begin in adolescence often continue into adulthood (Van Mechelen, Twisk & Post, 2000). In terms of out-of-school behavior, adolescents spend much time watching television and similar sedentary behavior, with relatively few late-adolescents engaged in physical activity for sufficient periods of time (Amisola &Jacobson, 2003; Andersen, Crespo, Bartlett, Cheskin, & Pratt, 1998; Armstrong & Van Mechelen, 1998; Hallal, Victoria, Azevedo, Wells, & Jonathan, 2006; Martinez, Martin, & Dowson, 2006). In terms of in-school behavior, there are reports of declining participation in physical education classes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). Indeed this, coupled with reports that physical activity levels of adolescents tend to decline with age through to early adulthood (Caspersen, Pereira & Curran, 2000), underscores the importance of efforts to assess, understand, and promote physical activity motivation better during adolescence. …

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