Female enthusiasm toward engaging in physical education decreases significantly with age. This has been linked to, among other things, the negative emotional experiences that sometimes occur when learning and participating in a variety of curricular content such as games or fitness activities. Little is yet known about how females’ enjoyment, state anxiety, social physique anxiety, self-efficacy, and causal attributions vary between such content. In this study, we examined how levels of these constructs differed between soccer and fitness testing units in 67 female students in Grade 9 physical education. Results revealed higher levels of affect in fitness testing than in soccer, specifically in state anxiety (p = .04), social physique anxiety (p = .008), and the attributions that “something can be changed” (p = .003) and “is because of me” (p = .01). Students’ concerns in the fitness testing unit were mainly apprehension about their performance and physical appearance (i.e., athletic physique), whereas in soccer they were more concerned with social comparisons, how their skills were being assessed, and their lack of skill ability. This, coupled with the prediction (p = .003) of soccer unit performance ratings by emotions and beliefs (notably self-efficacy; p = .003), provides new insight into how these units might uniquely challenge students.
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