1Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran
2Faculty member, Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran
Introduction: The social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have affected society's level of physical activity (Reisi, et al., 2021). Motivation is one of the factors related to physical activity. Increasing anxiety during COVID-19 has altered young people's motivation for physical activity (Wilczynska, et al., 2021). Thus, the purpose of the present study was to investigate changes in students' participation motivations for physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: The present study participants were 136 undergraduate students (23.8±4.6 years) who were selected as convenience from the Payame Noor University of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. Participants' motivation was measured before the pandemic (retrospectively) and during the 4th peak of the prevalence of disease in Iran, using the participation motivation questionnaire (Dwyer, 1992). The link to the electronic questionnaire in google form was sent to students via WhatsApp.
Results: According to the results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, data distributions were not normal. A Wilcoxon signed-ranks test indicated that participation motivation for physical activity before COVID-19 incidence (Mdn = 133.5) was more than during 4th peak of COVID-19 (Mdn = 115), Z = -9.53, p < .0001, r = .79. All motivation subscales were decreased during the 4th peak of COVID-19 (p<.0001).
Conclusion: According to the results, the student's motivation to participate in physical activity during the 4th peak of COVID-19 was significantly decreased compared to before the prevalence. It seems that the reduction of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic is affected by external factors such as social restrictions and internal factors. It is necessary to consider the mediating role of motivation to increase the students' physical activity during pandemics.