School physical education comprises a context where health-related information can be provided and healthy lifestyle can be promoted. However, there is limited evidence on which aspects of the lesson are associated with health beliefs. Past research in school physical education has revealed motivation as a construct capable of having impact on lesson-related and lessonirrelevant concepts. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between school physical education motivation and health beliefs, such as compensatory health beliefs and optimistic biases. The sample of the study consisted of 306 high school students, who completed a questionnaire including measures of physical education motivation, compensatory health beliefs and optimistic biases. The results of the cluster analysis revealed two meaningful groups based on students’ self-determination, one group included students with high self-determination and one group including those with low self-determination. These groups differed in compensatory health beliefs, with students in the high self-determination group scoring lower in compensatory health beliefs as compared to those in the low self-determination group. No significant differences were found for optimistic biases. These findings provide useful information on the role of physical education motivation in developing health beliefs.
physical education, health promotion, compensatory health beliefs, optimistic bias