But i like PE: Factors associated with enjoyment of physical education class in middle school girls

Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Kathryn H. Schmitz, Dianne S. Ward, Terry L. Conway, Charlotte Pratt, Chris D. Baggett, Leslie Lytle, Russell R. Pate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The current study examined associations between physical education (PE) class enjoyment and sociodemographic, personal, and perceived school environment factors among early adolescent girls. Participants included 1,511 sixth-grade girls who completed baseline assessments for the Trial of Activity in Adolescent Girls, with 50% indicating they enjoyed PE class a lot. Variables positively associated with PE class enjoyment included physical activity level, perceived benefits of physical activity, self-efficacy for leisure time physical activity, and perceived school climate for girls' physical activity as influenced by teachers, while body mass index was inversely associated with PE class enjoyment. After adjusting for all variables in the model, PE class enjoyment was significantly greater in Blacks than in Whites. In model testing, with mutual adjustment for all variables, self-efficacy was the strongest correlate of PE class enjoyment, followed by perceived benefits, race/ethnicity, and teachers' support for girls' physical activity, as compared to boys, at school. The overall model explained 11% of the variance in PE class enjoyment. Findings suggest that efforts to enhance girls' self-efficacy and perceived benefits and to provide a supportive PE class environment that promotes gender equality can potentially increase PE class enjoyment among young girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: (U01HL66858, U01HL66857,U01HL66845,U01HL66856,U01HL66855, U01HL66853, and U01HL66852). Please address all correspondence concerning this article to Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 S. 2nd Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454.


  • Adolescents
  • Physical activity
  • School climate
  • Self-efficacy


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