The effects of manipulating goal content and autonomy support climate on outcomes of a PE fitness class


Gillison, F. B., Standage, M. and Skevington, S. M., 2013. The effects of manipulating goal content and autonomy support climate on outcomes of a PE fitness class. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14 (3), pp. 342-352.

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    Objectives: The present study tested the potential for manipulating adolescents' goals and motives for participation in a school physical education (PE) lesson, and explored the subsequent outcomes on participant experience. Design: A cluster randomized controlled design was used to compare outcomes of four experimentally manipulated PE class conditions alongside a control group. Method: Twenty-four classes comprising 592 students (M age = 13.74 years) were randomized to undertake one of four experimental conditions, or a control condition, during a fitness-based circuits class during a usual PE lesson. The experimental conditions comprised an autonomy-supportive or controlling climate, each with an intrinsic (health and fitness) or extrinsic (looking good to others) goal focus. The control condition comprised a neutral climate with no goal focus. The effect of experimental condition on motivational, affective, and intentional outcomes was analysed using hierarchical linear modelling. Results: Class-level effects explained less than 10% of variance of study outcomes, suggesting that the impact of lesson manipulations was limited. Where intervention effects were significant, these were contrary to hypotheses guided by self-determination theory (SDT); participants perceived greater lesson value and formed stronger future intentions in the controlling, extrinsic goal focused condition. However, at the individual-level, findings were in line with SDT, in that perceptions of autonomy support and an intrinsic goal focus predicted positive lesson-related outcomes (i.e., motivation, effort, enjoyment, value, exercise-induced affect) and future intention to exercise (Total R2 values = .39 to .75). Conclusions: The findings highlight the practical challenges of manipulating lesson climates in ecological PE settings.


    Item Type Articles
    CreatorsGillison, F. B., Standage, M. and Skevington, S. M.
    Related URLs
    URLURL Type
    DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Health
    Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Psychology
    ID Code32525


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