Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), this study tested a model of motivational sequence in which perceived autonomy support from teachers in a physical education (PE) context predicted the perceived effort and physical self-esteem via self-determined motivation in school students. School students aged 12 to 16 years from Estonia (N = 816), Lithuania (N = 706), Hungary (N = 664), and Spain (N = 922) completed measures of perceived autonomy support from PE teachers, need satisfaction for autonomy, competence, relatedness, self-determined motivation, perceived effort and physical self-esteem. The results of the structural equation model (SEM) of each sample indicated that the students’ perceived autonomy support from the teacher was directly related to effort and indirectly via autonomous motivation, whereas physical self-esteem was related indirectly. Confirmatory factor analyses and multi-sample structural equation revealed well-fitting models within each sample with the invariances of the measurement parameters across four nations. The findings support the generalizability of the measures in the motivational sequence model to predict perceived effort and physical self-esteem.

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