Testing an Integrated Model of Interest Theory and Self-Determination Theory in University Physical Activity Classes


  • Joseph Opiri Otundo University of Arkansas at Little Rock, AR
  • Alex C. Garn Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA




University, Physical Education, Self-Determination Theory, Interest Theory


Despite close links between the tenets of self-determination theory (SDT) and the concept of interest, few studies have closely investigated their integration in the area of physical Activity (PA). This study explored the nature of situational interest and need support. Surveys were administered at two data points (4-week window) to college students (n = 347) enrolled in PA classes. Confirmatory factor analysis results point to needs support as a separate factor associated with situational interest. Structural equation model analysis presented an acceptable fit, ?. = 195.825 df = 83, p < 0.05, CFI = .953, TLI = .932, RMSEA = .063, SRMR = .049. Situational interest and need support are separate factors. Situational interest and optimal challenge have an inconsistent relationship with situational interest. Overall findings support the integration of interest theory and SDT, with clearer integration of personal interest into SDT compared to situational interest.

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Author Biographies

Joseph Opiri Otundo, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, AR

Joseph Otundo is an assitant professor of Health Education and Promotion at the University of Arkasas at Little Rock, AR. He received his PhD from Louisiana State University in 2017.  Joseph's research focuses on pedagogy and motivation in Health Education and physical activity. Secondary research explores green exercise and mental health.

Alex C. Garn, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Alex Garn is a Karen Wax Scmitt and Family Endowed professor in the School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University. He received his PhD from Indiana University in 2007. His research interest is motivational and emotional determinants of physical activity, motor skill performance, learning, and psychological well-being.'