Children's achievement goals, attitudes, and disruptive behaviors in an after-school physical activity program



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Texas A&M University


To promote active and healthy lifestyles in schoolage children, many afterschool physical activity programs offer students opportunities to participate in a variety of physical activities. The effects of such programs on students?????? levels of physical activity, however, depend largely on whether the students are motivated to participate and to demonstrate high levels of engagement behaviors in the programs. Therefore, it is critical for researchers and teachers to gain an understanding in this area. This study utilized a trichotomous achievement goal model to explore and describe what actually happened in terms of students?????? achievement goals, attitudes, and disruptive behaviors in an afterschool physical activity program. More specifically, the purposes of the study were fivefold: (1) to examine the reliability and validity of the scores generated by the trichotomous model, (2) to identify achievement goals endorsed by students, (3) to determine students?????? attitudes toward the program, (4) to identify students?????? disruptive behaviors, and (5) to investigate the relationships among students?????? achievement goals, attitudes, attendance, and disruptive behaviors. Results of this study indicate the trichotomous model observed in academic settings also existed among atrisk elementary school students in an afterschool physical activity program and the scores generated by this model were valid and reliable. Furthermore, students were found to score significantly higher on the mastery goal than they did on the performanceapproach and performanceavoidance goals, demonstrate positive attitudes, and display disruptive behaviors identified with the literature. Finally, the mastery goal was found to be positively related to students?????? positive attitudes and negatively related to students?????? selfreported low engagement, whereas the performanceapproach and performanceavoidance goals were found to be positively related to students?????? selfreported disruptive behaviors. Overall, the findings of the present study provide empirical support for the utilization of the trichotomous model in the context of afterschool physical activity programs. They also suggest the positive motivational effects of mastery goals observed in the classroom and physical education can be translated in the context of an afterschool physical activity program with atrisk elementary school students. Therefore, promoting mastery goals among students should become a high priority in afterschool physical activity programs.