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Students’ Attitude Toward Physical Education: Relations With Physical Activity, Physical Fitness, and Self-Concept

Élvio Rúbio Gouveia, Andreas Ihle, Bruna Raquel Gouveia, Ana José Rodrigues, Adilson Marques, Duarte Luís Freitas, Matthias Kliegel, Ana Luísa Correia, Ricardo Alves, Helder Lopes


This study investigated the relation between students’ attitude toward physical education (PE) and its correlates by simultaneously considering age, sex, enjoying physical activity (PA), self-perceived physically active lifestyle (PAL), self-perception of physical competence, PA, and cardiovascular fitness (CF). This cross-sectional study included 235 students (M = 15.2 ± 2.5 years). All correlates of students’ attitude toward PE were assessed via questionnaires. CF was assessed by via Fitnessgram. Pearson correlation coefficients confirmed a large positive correlation between attitude toward PE and PA enjoyment (r = .71, p < .001) and PAL (r = .52, p < .001). Moderate positive correlations were found for self-perception of physical competence, nonorganized PA, organized PA, and CF (.24 ≥ r ≤ .48, ps < .001) . Multiple linear regression showed that enjoying PA (β = .62, p < .001) was the only significant predictor when all variables were considered simultaneously. The model explained 55% of explained variance on students’ attitude toward PE. Binary logistic regressions showed that students who reported enjoying PA were 9.3 times more likely to report a positive attitude toward PE. In contrast, students who did not enjoy PA and those who overperformed in the CF test were 4.2 and 1.1 , respectively, more likely to report a negative attitude toward PE. Coherently across all analyses, from all the predictors studied, PA enjoyment seems to be the most powerful, showing the highest contribution in explaining students’ attitude toward PE.

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Students’ attitude; Physical Education; Physical Activity; Physical Fitness; Self-Concept

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