Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Movement Sciences


Health & Sport Pedagogy

Committee Director

Xihe Zhu

Committee Member

Justin Haegele

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh


This study examined the extent to which (a) healthy weight and overweight/obese high school students differ in Progressive Aerobic Cardiorespiratory Endurance Run (PACER) and push-up test performances, (b) attributions for PACER and push-up test outcomes differ based on weight status and performance (in the healthy fitness zone [HFZ] vs not in HFZ), (c) attribution dimension scores differ based on student weight status and performance, and (d) content-specific motivation constructs including personal interest, self-efficacy and attribution dimensions predict PACER and push-up test performances. High school students (n=185) first completed questionnaires assessing their interest and self-efficacy for the PACER and push-up fitness tests. After completing the fitness tests, participants filled out the Modified Causal Dimension Scale (CDS-II) to assess their attributions for their fitness test performances. Students’ body weight status were categorized as healthy (62%) or overweight/obese (38%) based on their body mass index percentile. Students with healthy weight significantly outperformed those that were overweight/obese. Results of multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that weight status impacted test performances, but not attribution dimension scores for either test. Students primarily attributed their push-up performance to ability (49%) and effort (31%), and their PACER performance to ability (56%). Overweight/obese students who did not perform in the HFZ were more likely to attribute their performance to ability and attitude than their healthy weight peers. There was no significant difference between overweight/obese and healthy weight students’ attributions for push-up performance. Student performance had a significant impact on the attribution dimension scores for both fitness tests. Students in the HFZ attributed their performance to more internal, stable, and personally controllable factors than those not in the HFZ. On average, students reported low to moderate levels of personal interest and moderate levels of self-efficacy for the fitness tests. Correlation and path analyses identified attribution dimensions, personal interest, and self-efficacy as positive predictors for PACER performance and, and only causality and stability attribution dimensions, personal interest, and self-efficacy were positively related to push-up performance. The final path model explained approximately 51% of the variances in PACER performance and 48% of the variances in push-up performance.


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