The purpose of this study was to explore the motives for participating in physical activity, and to compare motives with respect to gender and age in pupils aged from 9 to 11 years in Turkey. The participants were 400 voluntary pupils (205 females and 195 males) from a total of four public schools in the center of Cappadocia region. Authorization of parents, teachers and principals were ensured at all times. Data were gathered by “Questionnaire of Motives for Physical Activity Participation”. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a four factor solution -psychological, cognitive, physical, and social aspects of motives- explaining 60.3% of the variance with 30 possible reasons for participating in physical activity in daily life. Internal consistency coefficient was a=.88 for the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics showed that the most important motives for being physically active were social factors (M=2.28±.69), it was followed in order of importance by psychological factors (M=2.25±.63), physical factors (M=2.20±.51) and cognitive factors (M=1.82±.63). The most indicated social motive was “to be and play with friends”, while the least were “social events as tournament participation” and “to be well-known and popular”. Kruskal Wallis Test showed that mean ranks on cognitive and physical motives were significantly different according to age, increasing in importance from age 9 to 11 (p<.05*). Mann-Whitney U test showed that there was no significant difference on participation motives regarding gender (p>.05) in primary school students.
Key words: Physical activity, motivation, participation, Turkish students.
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