Background: One of the most important issues in students’ health is examining ways to motivate them to participate in physical activity and sports. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine a hybrid model of motivational and social beliefs’ processes based on the self-determination theory and the theory of planned behavior on the participation of children students in physical activity.
Methods: In the present study, a descriptive-correlation approach was used. The participants were 516 primary school students from Gonbad Kavoos, Iran, 2019. Data were collected via Sport Motivation Scale, Components of the Theory of Planned Behavior, and Leisure-Time Physical Activity Behavior Scale. Structural equation method was employed to analyze the data.
Results: Findings revealed that autonomous motivation significantly affected attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control (all T>1.96). In addition, these components had significant impacts on intention to physical activity (all T>1.96). Moreover, the intention to physical activity significantly affected leisure-time physical activity (T>1.96). Additionally, autonomous motivation significantly affected the intention to physical activity through mediation with attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control (all p <0.001). Finally, these components had significant effects on the actual physical activity behavior through mediation with intention to physical activity (all p <0.001).
Conclusions: Based on our findings, it could be stated that the motivational factors proposed in the theory of self- determination affect the willingness of primary school students to participate in physical activity through mediation by attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control.