Jurnal Pendidik dan Pendidikan, Jil. 24, 1–15, 2009

Jurnal Pendidik dan Pendidikan, Jil. 24, 1–15, 2009
1
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ ATTITUDE, SELF-EFFICACY
AND MOTIVATION REGARDING LEISURE
TIME PHYSICAL PARTICIPATION
Lim Khong Chiu
College of Art and Sciences, Universiti Utara Malaysia
06010, UUM Sintok, Kedah
E-mail: lkc@uum.edu.my
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify the influences of attitude, self-efficacy,
and motivation on leisure time physical activity participation in students at local public
universities. The theories of planned behaviour and self-efficacy were used as a
theoretical framework. The study sample is comprised of 551 males and 801 females who
were selected by means of random cluster sampling. Questionnaires were utilised to
collect data. The results of the study showed that there were positive correlations between
leisure attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy and leisure time physical activity
participation among undergraduate students. The results also revealed that motivation and
self-efficacy were the best predictors of leisure time physical activity participation. This
study suggests that, in the effort to encourage the student’s leisure time physical activity
participation and involvement, university management should plan and organise
programmes to develop positive attitudes among students, increasing their self-efficacy
and motivation level for physical activity participation.
Keywords: attitude, self-efficacy, motivation, leisure time physical activity, university
students
Abstrak: Tujuan kajian ini adalah untuk mengenal pasti sikap, efikasi-kendiri dan
motivasi terhadap penyertaan aktiviti fizikal masa senggang dalam kalangan pelajar di
universiti awam tempatan. Teori tingkah laku terancang dan efikasi-kendiri telah
digunakan sebagai kerangka teoritikal kajian. Persampelan kajian mengandungi 551
lelaki dan 801 perempuan yang telah dipilih dengan menggunakan kaedah pensampelan
rambang berkelompok. Soal selidik telah digunakan untuk memungut data. Keputusan
kajian menunjukkan bahawa terdapat hubungan yang positif antara sikap, motivasi dan
efikasi-kendiri terhadap masa senggang dengan penyertaan aktiviti fizikal masa
senggang. Hasil kajian ini juga membuktikan bahawa motivasi dan efikasi-kendiri
merupakan pemboleh ubah peramal yang terbaik terhadap penyertaan aktiviti fizikal masa
senggang. Kajian ini mengesyorkan bahawa dalam usaha untuk menggalakkan pelajarpelajar
menyertai dan melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti fizikal masa senggang, pihak
pengurusan universiti hendaklah merancang dan menyusun program ke arah
membangunkan sikap yang positif dalam kalangan pelajar di samping meningkatkan
tahap efikasi-kendiri dan motivasi terhadap penyertaan dalam aktiviti fizikal.
Kata kunci: sikap, efikasi-kendiri, motivasi, aktiviti fizikal masa senggang, pelajar
universiti
Lim Khong Chiu
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INTRODUCTION
Involvement in physical activity as one dimension of leisure has become an area
of growing interest in recent years (Henderson & Ainsworth, 2001). In relation to
leisure behaviour, there is a growing interest in the identification of the
determinants of participation in leisure activity (Chih Mou-Hsieh, 1998; Iso-
Ahola & Weissinger, 1990; Ragheb, 1980; Ragheb & Tate, 1993; Watson, 1996).
For example, some empirical studies show correlating relationships among the
pertinent variables examined in this study. However, past leisure behaviour
research has been concerned with a single variable, relationships between two
variables, or the correlation of leisure behaviour variables within demographic
variables. There has been limited effort to investigate the interrelationship
between leisure attitudes, motivation, self-efficacy, satisfaction, participation, and
a set of social concepts (Chih Mou Hsieh, 1998; Ragheb & Tate, 1993; Watson,
1996). For example, Ragheb (1980) investigated the interrelationships among
leisure participation, satisfaction, and attitude. Kaufman (1988) reported that
leisure participation and leisure satisfaction had a significant positive
relationship. Moreover, Iso-Ahola and Weissinger (1990) found negative
relationships between boredom and leisure participation, motivation, attitude, and
satisfaction.
Furthermore, Dzewaltowski (1989) reported that there were positive relationships
between exercise behaviour and intention, attitude and self-efficacy in terms of
exercise behaviour. Dzewaltowski reported that the correlation coefficients
between exercise behaviour and attitude and self-efficacy were .18 and .34
respectively. Thus, the findings from previous studies (see for example, Chih
Mou Hsieh, 1998; Ragheb, 1980; Crandall & Slivken, 1980; Watson, 1996)
showed a low relationship between attitude and physical activity participation.
Additionally, research also showed that the attitude factor predicted leisure
physical activity participation indirectly (Ajzen, 1985; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980;
Iso-Ahola, 1980). In line with this result, motivation was found to be the most
important contributing factor in predicting leisure behaviour related to physical
activity participation (Davis et al. 1984; Chih Mou Hsieh, 1998; Hagger,
Chatzisarantis, & Biddle, 2002; Iso-Ahola, 1980; Ragheb, 1980, Ragheb & Tate,
1993; Watson, 1996). The research findings by Feltz (1982, 1988), McAuley
(1985, 1992, 1993), McAuley and Courneya (1993), Dishman (2001), Hagger et
al. (2002), and Dzewaltowski, Noble and Shaw (1990) showed that there was a
moderate correlation between self-efficacy and physical activity participation
among both young and older people. However, Yordy and Lent (1993), and
Armitage and Conner (1999) demonstrated that self-efficacy was an important
predictor of physical activity. According to Brawley and Martin (1995), selfefficacy
was able to contribute between 3% to 25% of variance in physical
activity and exercise behaviour.
University Students’ Attitude, Self-Efficacy and Motivation
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In relation to university students, although there were a large number of students
currently attending colleges and universities, their leisure physical activity
participation cannot continue to be virtually ignored by researchers. Research into
this facet of physical recreation activity is important for leisure and recreation
professionals in order to better understand participants’ leisure behaviour. If the
interests of society are to be served, colleges and universities must help students
recognizes the implications of physical activity participation and its relationship
to the quality of their lives regardless of their sex, age, marital, or parental status
(Attarian, 1990). Little and Guse (1988) suggest that, by emphasising the oncampus
recreational needs of students, the development and operation of
specialised facilities and services has become an accepted part of the
administrative structure in higher education in America and around the world.
Moreover, knowledge gained from this kind of behavioural research will
eventually assist practitioners in their work. It is vital that leisure practitioners
know what motivates participants to engage in their services, programmes, and
activities. This information is also vital for identifying participants’ needs and
wants. For leisure researchers, the development of a behavioural model or theory
can help to organise knowledge and experience, as well as stimulate and guide
future research. It also can help in the development of better future explanations
and theories (Watson, 1996).
However, little research about the determinant factors related to leisure time
physical activity participation among local university students has been
conducted. The physical activity participation of university students has often
been overlooked because so much attention has centred on the negative image of
university students who spend their leisure time watching television or socialising
(Watson, 1996). Even though this behaviour occurs on a large number of
university campuses, many students do participate in physical activity, perceiving
the positive health and fitness benefits as well as the social and psychological
benefits of constructive leisure time (Biddle, Sallis & Cavill, 1998; Iso-Ahola,
1980; Lim Khong Chiu, 2002, 2004).
This study was designed to examine the relationships between leisure attitude,
motivation, self-efficacy, and leisure physical activity participation in
undergraduate students at local public universities. In an attempt to identify and
examine the pattern of influence of the psychological antecedents to leisure
physical activity behaviour, the theories of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991) and
self-efficacy (Bandura, 1986, 1997) were used as the theoretical base. These
theories are useful for predicting physical activities participation and exercise
intention.
Lim Khong Chiu
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Problem and Hypotheses
The following research questions are formulated in an effort to determine if
significant relationships exist between leisure attitude, motivation for physical
activity, self-efficacy for physical activity, and leisure physical activity
participation:
1. Are there relationships between leisure attitude, motivation, self-efficacy,
and leisure physical activity participation (frequency and magnitude)
among local university students?
2. Do leisure attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy contribute significantly
to leisure physical activity participation (frequency and magnitude)
among local university students?
Based on the purpose of the study, the following hypotheses were examined in
relation to undergraduate students at local universities:
1. Leisure attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy for physical activity
correlate positively with frequency and magnitude of leisure physical
activity participation.
2. Leisure attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy for physical activity
significantly explain the variance in frequency and magnitude of leisure
physical activity participation.
METHOD
Samples
A cluster-stratified random sampling method was applied to select a sample from
the four selected local public universities. Samples were comprised of 1352
undergraduates, 40.8% (n = 551) males and 59.2% (n = 801) females. The ethnic
populations included in the study were 45% (n = 608) Malay, 34% (n = 460)
Chinese, 8.1% (n = 109) Indian, and 12.9% (n = 175) Sabah and Indigenous
Sarawak. The subjects were evenly divided between the arts 50.1% (n = 677) and
science streams 49.9% (n = 675), with 22.3% (n = 302) in the first year, 27%
(365) in the second year, 35.5% (n = 480) in the third year, and 15.2% (n = 205)
in the fourth year. The mean age of the samples was 21.5 (range 19 to 24), and
there were no age differences between the groups.
University Students’ Attitude, Self-Efficacy and Motivation
5
Instruments
(a) Background information questions
The instruments consisted of (a) background information questions such as age,
sex, ethnic group, academic stream, and year of education; (b) a leisure attitude
scale; (c) a motivation for physical activity measure; (d) a physical activity selfefficacy
scale; and (e) a physical activity participation scale.
(b) Leisure attitude scale
In this study, leisure attitudes were operationalised using Ragheb and Beard’s
(1982) Leisure Attitude Scale. Only two dimensions of attitude, the cognitive and
affective components, were measured. The measured variables for the cognitive
and affective components are based on the sum of the total scores of each
component of the scales of 12 items. The respondents were asked to rate each
item on a five point Likert-type scale with the responses ranging from strongly
not true to strongly true. For their Leisure Attitude Scale development, Ragheb
and Beards consulted thirty-one experts in the field who provided evidence of the
validity of the instrument. Furthermore, a study with 1042 subjects revealed
that the Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities for subscale were as follows: cognitive,
α = .91; and affective, α = .93.
(c) The motivation for physical activity measure
The Motivation for Physical Activity Measure (MPAM), developed by Frederick
and Ryan (1993), was utilised to collect data. The MPAM consists of 23 items
measuring participation motivation in the domain of physical activity. Samples
were asked to indicate on a five point Likert-type scale the degree to which each
motive was personally true for them with respect to their primary physical
activity. The MPAM assessed three types of reasons for engaging in physical
activity: intrinsic (6 items), competence (7 items), and body-related motivation
(10 items). The intrinsic motivation relates to the fun and enjoyment of the
activity; the competence motivation relates to skill development, competition,
and challenge; and the body-related motivation relates to desire to improve
physical appearance and fitness (Frederick & Ryan, 1993). Frederick and Ryan
(1993) provided evidence for both the reliability and validity of these factors,
showing a clear, three-factor structure to the scale’s items and internal
consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha values was above .87 for each subscale.
Lim Khong Chiu
6
(d) Physical activity self-efficacy scale
The physical activity self-efficacy items were developed in accordance with
Bandura’s (1982, 1986) definition of self-efficacy as an individual’s belief that he
or she has the ability to perform at a specified level on a certain task.
Respondents answered questions for 20 items adapted from the Self-efficacy for
Exercise Scale (Benisovich et al., 1998) and Leisure Constraints Questionnaire
(Alexandris & Carrol, 1997) on a five point Likert-type scale with items that
ranged from 1 = very unconfident to 5 = very confident. Measurement of physical
activity self-efficacy for this study focused on students’ perception of their
confidence to overcome various constraints in participating in leisure physical
activity at least three times per week. Based on Terry and O’Leary’s (1995)
suggestion, 9 items were developed to measure internal aspects of self-efficacy,
and 11 items portrayed situations that focused on external aspects of selfefficacy.
An example of an internal factor is an individual’s perceived confidence
in engaging in physical activity, and an example of an influential external factor
is a barrier, like “bad weather.” Benisovich et al. (1998) reported adequate
internal consistency values for self-efficacy for the Exercise Scale were .77 and
.87 between each subscale. Likewise, for the Leisure Constraints Questionnaire
the internal consistency value was .85 (Alexandris & Carroll, 1997).
(e) Leisure physical activity participation scale
In this study, leisure time physical activity participation is defined as both the
frequency of participation in certain physical activities and the magnitude of
leisure time physical activity participation. The variables were measured by
adopting, modifying, and reducing the Leisure Participation Scale developed by
Ragheb and Griffith (1982), Chih Mou Hsieh (1998), and Ragheb and Tate
(1993). The frequency of participation in physical activity was operationalised as
the number of times an individual participated in his/her preferred leisure time
physical activities during the last six months. Respondents were asked to rate
how often they participated in leisure time physical activity. The measured
variable of frequency of participation was calculated by adding the total score
from those selected from the 36 activities listed. The magnitude of leisure time
physical participation was evaluated using 8 items adapted from Ragheb and Tate
(1993). Examples of the items are “I do leisure physical activity frequently,” and
“I buy goods and equipment to use in my leisure physical activity as my income
allows.” The internal consistency Cronbach’s alpha value for the scale was .89
(Ragheb & Tate, 1993). The measured variable for the magnitude of participation
was based on the sum total of the 8 items. The respondents were asked to rate
each item on a five point Likert-type scale as to how important the activities were
with respect to his/her leisure behaviour, where the responses ranged from
strongly untrue to strongly true.
University Students’ Attitude, Self-Efficacy and Motivation
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Procedure
Permission to collect data from undergraduate students was received from
selected university administrators. Two trained research assistants in classroom
conditions administered questionnaires during normal lecture time. The subjects
were asked to complete a survey questionnaire. The subjects were informed of
the purpose of the study and general instructions were provided. Help was offered
when needed, and responses were anonymous.
Data Analyses
A pilot test of the instruments was administered to 105 undergraduates at a local
public university. The aim of this pilot study was to ensure that the language used
and the scales adopted were appropriate. The Leisure Attitude Scale, Motivation
for Physical Activity Measure, Self-Efficacy for Physical Activity Scale, and
Leisure Participation Scale were translated into Malay. The deeper meanings of
certain questions may not have come across accurately in the Malay version as
compared with the English version. Therefore, the procedures of translation,
back-to-back translation, discussion, and review were used (Brislin, 1970). The
instruments were then validated and tested with the sample from the local
university for reliability by using factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha. The
results indicate that the measures were found to be psychometrically sound (Lim
Khong Chiu, 2002, 2004).
Multivariate analyses were utilised to examine possible relationships between the
research variables. The Pearson correlation statistic was utilised to test the first
hypothesis on interrelationships among independents variables and dependents
variables. To test the second hypothesis, stepwise multiple regression analyses
were performed. All analyses of data were performed with the SPSS/PC 12.0
statistical software package and the alpha level was set at p < .05.
RESULTS
The results of the Pearson correlation analyses in Table 1 revealed that the
correlation coefficients among leisure attitude, motivation, self-efficacy,
frequency, and magnitude of leisure physical activity participation of
undergraduates were found to be positively significant. The values of the
correlation coefficients were within the range of r = .146 and r = .667, p < .01.
The correlation between leisure attitude towards physical activity and frequency
of participation in leisure physical activity was found to be the lowest, whereas
the correlation between motivation for physical activity and magnitude of
participation in leisure physical activity was the highest. Therefore, the first
Lim Khong Chiu
8
hypothesis, which stated leisure attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy for
physical activity correlate positively with frequency and magnitude of leisure
time physical activity participation of undergraduates, was accepted by the data.
Table 1. Correlation coefficients among leisure attitude, motivation, self-Efficacy,
frequency and magnitude of leisure physical activity participation
Variables Attitude Motivation Self-Efficacy Frequency Magnitude
Attitude 1.000
Motivation .667** 1.000
Self-Efficacy .223** .374** 1.000
Frequency .147** .278** .256** 1.000
Magnitude .368** .501** .447** .435** 1.000
Note: * p < .05, ** p < .01, (N =1352)
Stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the
contribution of each independent variables (leisure attitude, motivation, and selfefficacy
for physical activity) on the dependent variables (frequency and
magnitude of leisure physical activity participation). The results of stepwise
regression in Table 2 show that self-efficacy and motivation for physical activity
were found to be significant predictors of the frequency of leisure physical
activity participation. [F (2, 1349) = 78.445, p = .00001]. Examination of the beta
weight shows that motivation for physical activity was the most important
contributor [β = .212, t (1352) = 7.642, p = .001] to frequent participation in
leisure physical activity. However, motivation and self-efficacy for physical
activity jointly explained 10.4% (R2 = .104) of the variance in frequency
participation in leisure physical activity. With these findings, the second
hypothesis of the research was partially supported by the data.
Table 2. Stepwise multiple regression analysis: attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy on
frequency of leisure time physical activity participation.
Variables Beta T P
Motivation .212 7.642* .001
Self-Efficacy .176 6.341* .001
Attitude –.062 –1.792 .073
Note: *p < .05, R = .323, R2 = .104, Adjusted R2 = .103, Std. error of the estimate = .214,
F = 78.445, p = .0001, (N = 1352)
The stepwise multiple regression results in Table 3 show that three variables,
namely motivation for physical activity, self-efficacy for physical activity, and
leisure attitude towards physical activity were found to be significant predictors
of the magnitude of leisure physical activity participation [F(3, 1348) = 223.880,
p = .0001]. The results also reveal that leisure attitude, self-efficacy, and
University Students’ Attitude, Self-Efficacy and Motivation
9
motivation for physical activity significantly explained 33.3% of the variance in
magnitude of leisure physical activity participation (R2 = .333). The regression
coefficients indicate that students’ motivation for physical activity had the
highest contribution to the total explanatory power of the model with a
standardised beta coefficient of .338, [t (1352) = 10.752, p = .001]. The second
and third highest contributions came from physical activity self-efficacy [β =
.304, t (1352) = 12.644, p = .001], and leisure attitude towards physical activity
[β = .075, t (1352) = 2.495, p = .001]. Therefore, the results supported the second
hypothesis of the study.
Table 3. Stepwise multiple regression analysis: attitude, motivation, and self-efficacy on
magnitude of leisure physical activity participation.
Variables Beta T p
Motivation .338 10.752* .001
Self-efficacy .304 12.644* .001
Attitude .075 2.495* .013
Note: *p < .05, R = .577, R2 = .333, Adjusted R2 = .331, Std. error of the estimate =
.676, F = 223.880, p = .0001, (N=1352)
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The current study was based on factors that influence individuals’ participation in
leisure physical activity. It was hypothesised that leisure attitude towards
physical activity, motivation, and self-efficacy for physical activity correlate
positively with the leisure physical activity participation of undergraduates at
local universities. Based on the data, the results revealed that the correlation
coefficients of all the variables were significantly greater than zero; therefore, the
hypotheses proposed for these variables were accepted. The data provided
support for the hypothesised relationships between each of the independent
variables and leisure physical activity participation. The findings indicated that a
positive leisure attitude towards physical activity, high self-efficacy, and
motivation for physical activity would likely increase the rate of participation in
leisure physical activity among undergraduate students. In other words, the
higher their belief in the self-efficacy of physical activity, the more frequent was
their participation in leisure physical activity. Likewise, the higher the perception
of positive attitude towards physical attitude, the more frequent was the
participation in leisure physical activities among undergraduates at local
universities.
The relationships found in the current study correspond with findings by Ragheb
(1980), Feltz (1982, 1988) and McAuley (1985, 1988). However, the positive
correlation between self-efficacy and leisure physical activity participation was
Lim Khong Chiu
10
more consistent compared with the correlation between attitude and participation
in physical activity. In relation to the above findings, Crandall and Slivken (1980)
stated that the link between attitude and behaviour is often very weak, and that
there may be situational restraints or competing attitudes that cause the individual
not to act on every attitude.
The analysis supported hypothesis 2, that all variables significantly explained the
variance in leisure physical activity participation. Motivation for physical activity
was found to be the largest contributor to the frequency and magnitude of
participation in leisure physical activity among undergraduates at local
universities. Based on these findings, motivation should be viewed as an
important determinant for behaviour. Crandall (1980) stated that needs and
motivation can be treated as forces that cause people to seek certain behaviours.
They can also be the result of leisure participation. This result is also consistent
with findings from Ragheb and Tate (1993), Chih Mou Hsieh (1998) and Watson
(1996), which revealed that leisure motivation had a direct causal influence on
leisure participation. Furthermore, the result of the current study indicates that an
undergraduate student’s higher belief in his/her self-efficacy for physical activity
influences his/her participation in leisure physical activity. This supports the
findings of other studies that found self-efficacy to be a major instigating force in
both forming intentions to exercise and in maintaining the practice for an
extended period of time (Dzewaltowski, Noble, & Shaw, 1990; McAuley, 1992,
1993; Feltz, 1988).
The results obtained from this study were consistent with Fishbein and Ajzen’s
(1975) reasoned action theory, Ajzen’s (1985, 1991) planned behaviour theory,
Bandura’s (1982, 1986) self-efficacy theory, and previous findings obtained by
Crandall and Slivken (1980), Iso-Ahola and Weissinger (1990), Hagger et al.
(2001, 2002), and Dzewaltowski et al. (1990). In this investigation, the previous
findings tended to support the notion of attitude-behaviour consistency with the
intervening of motivation for physical activity. Because, as Fishbein and Ajzen
(1975) indicate, attitudes are general in nature and therefore not good predictors
of a specific behaviour, predictions should be made based on intention. Intention
refers to an individual’s purpose for participation in one activity or another.
Intention is similar to motivation. This could be attributed to the nature of leisure
characteristics such as an activity being fun, enjoyable, and pleasurable.
Likewise, Bandura (1982, 1986) believed that self-efficacy should reflect a
person’s evaluation of his/her confidence in performing a given behaviour in the
face of salient barriers and facilitating conditions. According to Bandura, if
someone has requisite skills and sufficient motivation, then the major
determinant of his or her performance is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy alone is not
enough to be successful – the person must also want to succeed and have the
ability to succeed (Weinberg & Gould, 1995).
University Students’ Attitude, Self-Efficacy and Motivation
11
The greatest contribution of the present study is the demonstration of
interpretable patterns of physical activity participation among local university
students. This information could be useful in developing interventions designed
to improve the strength and quality of physical activities, sports programmes, and
services. Therefore, these results have implications for leadership in sport
administration and management, particularly with respect to effort, persistence,
and commitment to organising physical activities and sports programmes on
campus. For example, the present study can help university administrators
consider how their programmes and services can create opportunities and
experiences that meet students’ needs and enrich their lifestyle. Furthermore, the
primary contribution of leisure physical activity participation is not only the
frequency and the awareness of engaging in those activities, but, above all, the
benefits and satisfaction obtained by participation. Therefore, leisure practitioners
must design, plan, and offer services that contribute not only to the increased rate
of participation, but also to the fulfilment of leisure satisfaction and
psychological well-being of undergraduate students.
However, the limitations of this study need to be considered. Because the study
was carried out in a university setting, it was limited to university students. Thus,
the results cannot be generalised to other settings. Additionally, the leisure
participation scale utilised in this study required that the samples accurately
remember their physical activity over the past weeks.
Therefore, several directions for future research could advance both the theory
and the practice in this area. The present study should be replicated using
students from other institutions (e.g., schools, colleges and polytechnics), as well
as other population samples (e.g., older adults, working class individuals).
Additionally, future research should explore additional variables in participating
physical activity, as have been determined by theory and previous empirical
research. It is also recommended that the leisure participation in physical activity
be examined in relation to other age groups, different ethnic groups, types of
physical activities, and other psychological variables such as goal achievement,
personality, and exercise adherence. In addition, it is suggested that a modified
measurement scales to be used to obtain qualitative data that may explain
individuals’ leisure attitude, motivation, self-efficacy, and participation in leisure
time physical activity.
Lim Khong Chiu
12
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