Youth Motivation and Participation in Sport and Physical Activity

Maureen R. Weiss, Anthony J. Amorose and Lindsay E. Kipp

in The Oxford Handbook of Human Motivation

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195399820
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Youth Motivation and Participation in Sport and Physical Activity


Sports and physical activities are ubiquitous achievement contexts for children and adolescents worldwide. Motivation to initiate, continue, and sustain physical activity involvement is important for ensuring positive developmental and healthy outcomes. In this chapter we synthesize and consolidate theory-driven knowledge about determinants and outcomes of youth motivation and participation in sport and physical activity. First, we discuss relevant theoretical frameworks for understanding youth motivation in the physical activity domain. Second, we review empirical research on social-contextual factors and individual differences related to youths’ desire to continue physical activity and opportunities for accruing the many benefits from such participation. Finally, based on our review of literature, we offer several avenues for future research that address gaps in the knowledge base about mechanisms of influence on youths’ motivation and participation in physical activity.

Keywords: parental influence; coaching behaviors; teacher influence; peer acceptance; friendship; self-esteem; perceived competence; enjoyment; anxiety; physical activity interventions

Article.  24307 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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