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Exercise involves regular and repetitive body movements. In addition to sports activities, exercise is considered physical activity including play and various activities performed during the day. Exercise is one of the most important activities that ensure healthy individuals, especially physical health, from mental, emotional and social aspects (Tekkursun Demir et al.).

Autonomy is based on the Theory of Self-Determination. Designed around the concept of social support, the self-determination theory (1985) was developed by Deci and Ryan. The aim of the Self-Determination Theory is to explain motivation and behavior based on individual differences between motivational orientations, contextual influences, and interpersonal perceptions (Hagger and Chatzisarantis, 2008).

The need for autonomy is defined as the fact that the individual accepts his/her own behavior as it is and that he/she takes decisions by himself/herself (Deci and Ryan, 1987). In other words, autonomy is the intrinsic focus of the individual and the capacity of conscious motivation (Muftiioglu, 2016).

Autonomy is that an individual can take decisions in the direction of his own interests, desires, goals, and has the motivation to act on his own will. In addition to their internal motivation, environmental conditions and the support of other individuals are also important for the individual to exhibit autonomous movements. At this point, the autonomy support, which is perceived from other individuals and environments, has a great importance.

Autonomy support provided from the environment supports the individual's internal motivation, enables him to demonstrate all his or her potential and helps him reach his interests and desires (Andersen, 2000). Autonomy support means interpersonal support that enables individuals to identify, develop and improve the sources of internal motivation, such as the need for autonomy, goals, interests and values (Reeve and Jang, 2006). Perceived autonomy support is defined as the level of perception of the behaviors of the autonomous support of the individuals who support the autonomy (Deci and Ryan, 1987).

In foreign literature, there are many studies related to self-determination theory. The applicability of the self-determination theory was proved by some scientific evidence for the optimal functionality in a variety of contexts such as work environment (e.g., Deci, Ryan, Gagne, Leone, Usunov and Kornazheva, 2001), parenting (e.g., Assor, Roth, and Deci, 2004), education (e.g., Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier and Ryan, 1991) and health care (e.g., Williams and Deci, 1998). Furthermore, the field of physical was tested in application on the framework of self-determination theory, as well: physical education (e.g., Standage, Duda, ve Ntoumanis, 2003; Hagger, Chatzisarantis, Barkoukis, Wang, and Baranowski, 2005), sport (e.g., Reinboth and Duda, 2006), and exercise (e.g., Hagger and Chatzisarantis, 2008). However, studies on autonomy perceived by a friend based on the theory of self-determination in our country are rare (Muftuoglu, 2016).

In the research, it was aimed to examine the autonomy perceptions of university students perceived during participation to the exercise and originated from their friends in terms of demographic information.


This section includes information on the method of research, the model used in the research, the study group, the data collection tool, and the process of the data collection. Research Model

Quantitative research model method was used in the research. Quantitative research is a type of research, through which phenomena and events can be observed, measured and numerically expressed by objectifying them (Cohen and Manion, 2007; Bird, 2009). The aim of quantitative research is to objectively measure the social behaviors of individuals through similar means such as tests and questionnaires and to explain them numerically (Bergman, 2009). Survey method was used in the research, which is used widely in social sciences, carried out on large groups, in which the opinions and attitudes of individuals in the group about a case or event are taken, facts and events are tried to be described (Tanriogen, 2009).

Study Group

The study group consists of university students who are studying in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th class in the department of Physical Education and Sports in the Faculty of Sports Sciences of Gazi University, in the fall semester of 2016-2017 academic year.

Table 1 contains the information on the grade level and gender of the physical education and sports teacher candidates participating in the present study. Accordingly, a total of 183 students participated in the study, 35 female, 25 male from 1st grade; 11 female, 29 male from 2nd grade; 11 female, 28 male from 3rd grade and 25 female, 31 male from 4th grade.

Data Collection Tool

In the research, "personal information form" and "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" were used as data collection tool.

Personal Information Form: This form, developed by the researchers, is designed to collect information about the teacher candidates voluntarily participating in the research.

Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise: Developed by the Muftis (2016), the scale, which aims to measure the participants' autonomy perceived in the participations of the participants in the exercise, is one dimensional and consists of 12 items in total. The scale is evaluated on a seven-point Likert scale from "I completely disagree (1)" to "completely agree (7)". The total score that can be obtained from the scale ranges from 12 to 84. The high score received from the scale indicates a high perceived autonomy support in the exercise.

Analysis of Data

Before the data were subjected to any analysis, it was determined whether they provided the preconditions for the parametric tests. In this context, prior to the analysis, the normal distribution of the data and the results of Levene (equality of variance) test were examined (Buyukozturk, 2008). Frequency, arithmetic mean, standard deviation; t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pearson Correlation test were used as a statistical method for the analysis of the data after the suitability of the data to parametric tests was determined. These statistical analyzes were performed through the SPSS 23 statistical package program.


As shown in Table 2, Pearson Moment Correlation analysis was performed to determine the relationship between the total scores of the teacher candidates from the "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" and the age variable. As a result of the analysis, there was a statistically significant and negative relationship between the scores (r=-,210, p<0 ,05).

In Table 3, the total scores of physical education and sports teacher candidates from the Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise were examined with t test to determine whether the scores showed a significant difference according to gender. According to this, the autonomy support which the physical education and sport teacher candidates perceive from their friends does not show a significant difference according to the gender variable ([t.sub.181]=,994; p>0.05).

According to Table 4, as a result of ANOVA, it was determined that the total scores of participants from "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" did not show a statistically significant difference according to their grade levels ([F.sub.3,179]=,169; p>0,05).

In Table 5, the total scores of physical education and sports teacher candidates from the "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" were examined with t test to determine whether the scores showed a significant difference according to branch. According to this, the autonomy support which the physical education and sport teacher candidates perceive from their friends does not show a significant difference according to the branch variable ([t.sub.181]:1,05; p>0.05).


It was aimed to examine the autonomy of physical education teacher candidates in terms of different variables by revealing their autonomy perceived from their friends during the participation in the exercise. In this context, a total of 183 (70 female, 113 male) students attending the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th classes participated in the research.

In the light of findings, a statistically significant and negative relationship was found between their total score from the "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" and the age variable. In this context, it can be said that as the age of the participants increases, the need for autonomy support decreases. As the individuals get older, as well as to mature and gain the experience, they are expected to have acquired the habits of exercises for body beauty, weight control and healthy living. For this reason, we can say that the need for peer support decreases. In the literature, there was no research on done for the relationship between age variable and autonomy support perceived from friends in exercise.

It was determined that their total score from "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" did not show any significant difference according to gender variable. There are parallel results in the literature in relation to research findings. In the research titled "Autonomy Support, Basic Needs Satisfaction, Motivation Regulation, and Well-Being Among Elite Levels" by Kamarova (2010) on professional dancers, it was found that autonomy support did not differ significantly gender.

In the literature, it was found that adolescent females are influenced by external motives (appearance and weight) as well as friend autonomy in participating in exercise (Ingledew and Sullivan, 2002; Dowson, McInerney, and Nelson, 2006; Bettle et al., 2001; Markland and Vansteenkiste, 2007; Cash, Novy, and Grant, 1994; Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, and Ryan, 1991), and this situation strengthens the autonomy of participation in the exercise.

It was determined in the other findings of the research that their total score from the "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise" did not show any significant difference according to grade variable. Accordingly, this may be due to the fact that the physical education teacher candidates have integrated their lives with exercise. With regard to the departments of the participants, it is inevitable that the levels of participation in exercise are at similar levels at all grades because of the applied courses and the exercises that have become a habit. Whereas there are no researches related to the grade level, there are studies from different countries on the participants. In the research of Hagger et al. (2007), it was determined that autonomy support perceived from the friends was higher for Estonian participants than for British and Hungarian colleagues.

There was no significant difference between the total scores of physical education teacher candidates obtained from the "Scale of Autonomy Support Perceived from Friends in Exercise " and their sports branches. In the literature, no research was found on the relationship between sport branch variable and autonomy support perceived from friends in exercise. In the direction of all these findings, the deduction, which is that the autonomy support of the individuals perceived from the peers (friends) influenced positively the participation of young people in physical activity, their performance, their satisfaction for the participation in the sports and their basic psychological needs, can be made based on the literature (Hagger and Chatzisarantis, 2007, Deci and Ryan, 2000, Deci and Ryan, 2008). However, there is research in the literature that physical activity is an element that promotes autonomy, physical and psychological well-being among adolescents (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Soenens, and Lens, 2004; Reinboth and Duda, 2006).


I thank all students for participating in this study.


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Faculty of Sport Sciences, Gazi University, Ankara, TURKEY.

(2) Nigde Omer Halisdemir University, Department of Physical Education and Sports, Nigde, TURKEY CORRESPONDENCE AND REPRINT REQUESTS: TEKKURSUN DEMIR Gonul.
Table 1. Distribution of Participants according to Grade Level and

                                Grade Levels
Participants   1st Grade   2nd Grade   3rd Grade   4th Grade   Total

                 23          11          11          25          70
                 25          29          28          31         113
                 48          40          39          56         183

Table 2. Correlation Results According to Age Variable

Variable   N     r           p

Age        183   -,210**   ,005

Table 3. Independent Group t Test Results to Determine Whether It
Changes According to Gender Variable

Variable   Sub-groups   N     [bar.x]   Sd      df    t        p

Gender     Female        70   54,81     15,05   181   ,994   ,314
           Male         113   52,43     16,15   181

* p> .05

Table 4. ANOVA Test Results to Determine Whether It Changes According
to Grade Variable

Grade  N    [bar.x]  Source of   Sum of     Sd(df)  Averages    F      p
                     variance    squares            of

1st    48   52,70
2nd    40   54,82    Intergroup    127,428     3     42,476   ,169  ,917
3rd    39   53,46    In-group    44985,884   179    251,318
4th    56   52,75

* p> .05

Table 5. Independent Group t Test Results to Determine Whether It
Changes According to According to Individual or Team Sports

Variable            N     [bar.x]   Sd      df    t        p

Individual Sports    78   54,76     14,75   181   1,05   ,293
Team Sports         105   52,28     16,42

* p> .05
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Original article
Author:Gonul, Tekkursun Demir; Ibrahim, Cicioglu Halil; Levent, Ilhan Ekrem; Zekihan, Hazar
Publication:Ovidius University Annals, Series Physical Education and Sport/Science, Movement and Health
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 15, 2018

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