Background: One of the most important issues in school health is believed to be finding factors that could affect students’ participation in physical activity and sports. Thus, we conducted the present study to investigate the effects of peers on motivation and physical activity behavior of students. This study was theoretically based on the self-determination theory and transcontextual model.
Methods: The present research was a correlational survey based on structural equations. The statistical sample included 384 male and female high school students from Azadshahr, Golestan, Iran, in 2019. Standard questionnaires including Peers Questionnaire, Relatedness Need Satisfaction Questionnaire, Intrinsic Motivation Scale, and Physical Activity Behavior Questionnaire were used for collecting the data. We utilized structural equations method to analyze the data.
Results: The results revealed a significant effect of peers on relatedness need satisfaction (β=0.65, T=21.17). Moreover, relatedness need satisfaction had a significant effect on students’ intrinsic motivation in the physical education class (β=0.76, T=43.78). Furthermore, intrinsic motivation in the physical education class was found to be significantly transferred to intrinsic motivation outside school (β=0.73, T=42.44). Finally, intrinsic motivation in leisure time significantly affected students’ physical activity (β=0.80, T=51.48).
Conclusions: These findings highlighted the positive role of peers in physical education class in promoting the students’ motivation and physical activity behavior in leisure time.