Abstract and Keywords
Understanding children's motivation to engage in physical activity is an important and urgent topic given current knowledge about levels of youth inactivity. An improved understanding of children's motivation to be physically active should drive future intervention strategies and help structure public policies. It is necessary to maintain a broad perspective on the topic, because children's physical activity motivation is affected by biological, social, and developmental factors as well as by the psychological and individual-difference factors that are the primary focus here. This chapter discusses the primary contemporary theoretical perspectives on children's physical activity motivation and highlights differences between the physical activity motivation of adults and children. Four major psychological dimensions of influence on youth physical activity motivation are discussed in depth: young people's perceptions of competence and of autonomy, their affective responses to physical activity, and the nature of the social relationships they experience while engaged in physical activity.
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