Students' motivational profiles in the physical education context

John C.K. Wang, Alexandre J.S. Morin, Richard M. Ryan, W. C. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The purpose of the current study is to test the self-determination theory (SDT) continuum hypothesis of motivation using latent profile analysis (LPA). A total of 3,220 school students took part in the study. We compared LPA solutions estimated using the four motivation types versus the two higher-order dimensions to assess their degree of correspondence to the SDT continuum hypothesis. To examine the concurrent validity of the profiles, we also verified their associations with three predictors (age, gender, perception of physical education teachers' autonomy-supportive behaviors) and two outcomes variables (perceived competence and intentions to be physically active). The results showed that profiling using the four motivation types provides more differentiated and meaningful description of responses to the Perceived Locus of Causality Scale, compared with profiling using two higher-order factors. In general, the results of the current study were consistent with the SDT continuum hypothesis of human motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-630
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was also made possible by a grant from the Australian Research Council (DP140101559) awarded to the second author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Continuum hypothesis
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Perceived locus of causality
  • Self-determination continuum


Dive into the research topics of 'Students' motivational profiles in the physical education context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this