Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Athletic Coaching Education

Committee Chair

Andrea Taliaferro

Committee Co-Chair

Alfgeir Kristjansson

Committee Member

John Oughton

Committee Member

Valerie Wayda

Committee Member

Robert Wiegand


Background: Research suggests there is a decline in physical activity (PA) as individuals enter adulthood (Sallis, 2000). Physical activity behaviors that students develop during college years are said to have a long-term impact on adult habits (Keating, Guan, Pinero, & Bridges, 2005). Leslie, Sparling, and Owen (2001) suggest that college campuses are central settings with unseen opportunities to influence young adults' PA patterns. Higher education PA programs can be a mechanism to introduce adults to healthy lifestyles that include PA (Hardin, Andrew, Koo, & Bemiller, 2009).;Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of choice in a conceptually-based college health and wellness course on exercise motivation and PA of undergraduate students.;Method: This study employed a mixed method design. Quantitative data from the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ-2) and the Leisure Time in Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ) were collected over three time points. Participants (N=81) experienced instruction that was either autonomously supportive (choice) or controlling (non-choice) in an effort to determine the impact of these approaches on improving levels of PA and motivation. Qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with course instructors (N=4) and open-ended questions were also collected.;Results: There was a significant increase in intrinsic regulation F(2, 158) = 10.13, p = .00, etap 2 =.114; identified regulation F(2, 158) = 7.35, p = .001, etap2 = .085; introjected regulation F(2, 158) = 6.61, p = .002, etap 2 = .077; and PA F(2, 158) = 5.63, p = .004, = .067 over time. No significant group differences were found.;Conclusion: While there was no significant difference between instruction type, instructors and participants suggested that choice was the preferred method for adult learners; however, individuals may need initial support with gradual increase in autonomy. Future research is warranted to investigate how increasing autonomy through choice can lead to higher autonomous motivation.