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With the belief that theoretical integration in motivation may help us better understand motivational behavior, we designed this study to explore adolescents’ motivational profiles and their associations with knowledge acquisition, leisure-time exercise behaviors, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Middle school students from a large urban inner-city school district (N = 603, ages 12–14) completed questionnaires assessing motivational constructs and leisure-time exercise behavior. Knowledge and cardiorespiratory fitness were also assessed with a knowledge test and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test, respectively. Using hierarchical cluster analysis, we found that students’ motivation in physical education could be explained from a multi-theoretical perspective. The interactive patterns among different motivation constructs were homogeneous overall and associated with in-class effort, knowledge, and leisure-time exercise behavior. These findings suggest that students’ development in physical education may depend upon a collective impact of changes in knowledge, physical activity ability, and sources of motivation.


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Education | Exercise Physiology | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies