Investigating the association of self-regulated learning skills and physical activity in Hong Kong Chinese and Scottish adolescents

Amanda J. Pitkethly*, Patrick W C Lau, Ralph Maddison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Zimmerman’s self-regulated learning (SRL) model focusses on how individuals are able to make improvements through a cyclical and systematic method of learning how to adapt to ever-changing environments; however, this model is not widely applied in a physical activity (PA) behaviour change context. As such, this cross-sectional study examined the relationship between six SRL skills (planning, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, reflection, effort and self-efficacy) and PA in 480 Chinese (aged 11–19 years; M = 14.9, SD = 1.8; male = 61.3%) and 411 Scottish (aged 12–16 years; M = 13.8, SD = 1.4; male = 47.9%) adolescents. Moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA was significantly higher for Scottish (M = 48.58, SD = 26.01, p =.0005) compared to Chinese adolescents (M = 31.14, SD = 22.26). All SRL variables significantly explained a small amount of variance in moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA, in both Chinese (ΔR2 =.021, F(2, 461) = 6.320, p =.005) and Scottish (ΔR2=.020, F(2, 376) = 8.427, p =.013) adolescents; and reflection was a significant predictor of PA (Chinese p =.027; Scottish p =.003) in both samples. Despite PA differences, in both groups a similar pattern in the relationship between SRL and PA emerged, as well the importance of reflection in this relationship. It is understood that SRL skills may not necessarily come naturally to adolescents and may require explicit training, therefore, research focussing on the development of these SRL skills alongside PA, with a particular emphasis on reflection, may positively influence adolescent PA behaviour change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-684
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

User-Defined Keywords

  • adolescents
  • physical activity
  • reflection
  • self-regulation


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