Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Craig Hall


Physical activity is important in everyday life; however 88% o f Canadian children are not physically active (CFLRI, 2008). It is important to identify strategies to assist children to increase their physical activity; one such strategy could be imagery. The purpose ofthe present study was to examine children’s use of imagery in their active play using a qualitative approach based on the three basic psychological needs put forth by Basic Needs Theory (autonomy, competence and relatedness; Deci & Ryan, 2002). In addition, the study examined gender and age differences that existed in children’s use of imagery in their active play. The participants included 104, 7-14 year olds. A total of23 focus groups were conducted. The results indicated children are using active play imagery and that their imagery is satisfying the three basic psychological needs. Autonomy was satisfied by participants imaging activities that are enjoyable, activities they do often, and those that their favourite activities. Participants reported satisfying the need for relatedness by imaging friends, family members and others (i.e. professional athletes).' Competence was satisfied by participants imaging themselves being good at performing their activities, with many participants imaging themselves better than actually are. Age and gender differences emerged in relatedness and competence. The findings from the study can facilitate the development o f imagery interventions aimed at increasing children’s motivation to do physical activity.



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