Title page for ETD etd-06072009-111849

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Domangue, Elizabeth A
Author's Email Address edomang@yahoo.com
URN etd-06072009-111849
Title A Critical Examination into Motivation and Gender in Youth Physical Fitness Testing
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Kinesiology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Melinda A. Solmon Committee Chair
Alex Garn Committee Member
Amelia Lee Committee Member
Michelle A. Massé Committee Member
Melda Kunduk Dean's Representative
  • poststructuralism
  • motivation
  • gender
  • fitness testing
  • physical education
Date of Defense 2009-05-11
Availability unrestricted
Fitness testing in physical education classes has emerged as an important component in efforts to assess and address health concerns related to children’s physical inactivity. To date, motivational aspects of fitness testing, especially in regard to students’ future intention to participate in fitness-related activities, have not been closely examined. Fitness testing practices have been identified as a dominant discourse in physical education that continue to separate girls’ and boys’ physicalities along gendered lines. This lack of understanding about the motivational implications of fitness testing programs, coupled with concerns related to the gendered nature of fitness testing, emphasize the significance of this dissertation. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate motivational and gendered aspects of fitness testing in physical education. The first quantitative study investigated students’ motivational orientations towards the President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test [PCPFT] by comparing students who received awards with those who did not. Students who completed the PCPFT and received an award reported higher levels of task-involvement, perceived competence, effort, enjoyment, and future intention to participate in fitness testing programs than those who did not. The second quantitative study explored students’ motivation orientations, perceptions of the climate, and future intention to participate in fitness-related activities by comparing students who completed the PCPFT with those who completed FitnessGram. Students who participated in FitnessGram reported higher levels of task-involvement, perceived competence, and future intention to participate in fitness-related activities. The qualitative study investigated how students who participated in the two programs made sense of the gender disparities apparent across the tests, and two themes emerged. First, knowledge about gender-related conceptions of fitness was created by the students based on their schooling experiences, various modes of popular culture, familial expectations/roles, and historically-situated events that served to establish and perpetuate boys and girls as essentially different. Second, the students’ positioning within the two different testing programs allowed the students to produce knowledge and meaning that led to restricted bodily movements. This research extends the work of previous feminist and motivation scholars in the physical education domain and provides a basis for further study.

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