Weidong Li

Headshot of Weidong Li

Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Kinesiology

(614) 247-6506


Weidong Li is an associate professor at Department of Human Sciences at the Ohio State University. He received his PhD in sports pedagogy in 2004 and a MS degree in experimental statistics in 2003 from Louisiana State University.

His research focus centers student motivation, weight-related teasing and coping, and lifestyle interventions and its impact on K-12 students' health and cognition/academic achievement. Li has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, three chapters in edited books, six technical reports and 25 abstracts. He has made more than 60 presentations at state, national and international conferences (three presentations as invited speakers).

Li has been awarded internally-funded grants and externally-funded grants from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Research Consortium (AAHPERD-Research Consortium). Li is a research fellow of AAHPERD (currently renamed as Society of Health and Physical Educator) and serves as an editor of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. Li also received a national major award - the Instruction and Curriculum Young Scholar in 2009. In 2014, the Undergraduate Physical Education Teacher Education program received an honor award from AAHPERD for its excellence.


  • PhD, Sports Pedagogy, Louisiana State University, 2004
  • MS, Experimental Statistics, Louisiana State University, 2003
  • MEd, Sports Social Science, Beijing University of Physical Education, 1999
  • BEd, Physical Education, Nanjing Normal University, 1996

Research Interests

Research Summary

Li's research has focused on lifestyle interventions and impacts on K-12 students’ health and cognition/academic achievement with three complementary areas:

  • achievement motivation in physical education
  • obesity bias and obesity intervention in children; and
  • youth and physical activity interventions and cognition/academic achievement.

The three areas are interconnected because of the complexity of factors causing obesity and influencing an individual’s behavioral changes. Li has examined the three research areas from multiple perspectives (e.g. self-efficacy theory, ability conceptions, social ecological theory, self-determination theory) in urban school settings using both qualitative and quantitative methods, with the ultimate goal of making a difference in children and youth lives through excellent research supported by funded grants. 

Selected Publications

Books and Chapters

  1. Li, W. (2009). The role of conceptions of ability in student cognition. In L. Housner, M. Metzler, P. Schempp, T. Templin, Historic traditions and future directions in research on teaching (pp.121-125). Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University.
  2. Wright, P. M., Li, W., Coleman, D. K., Dyson, B. (2007). Fostering exercise motivation and promoting physical activity through a physical education pedometer program. In F. Columbus (Ed.), Psychology of Motivation (pp. 105-117). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Journal Articles

  1. Rukavina, P., Doolittle, S., Li, W., et al. (in press), "Middle School Teachers’ Strategies for Including Overweight Students in Skill and Fitness Instruction". Journal of Teaching in Physical Education.
  2. Ward, P., Kim, I., Ko, B. Li. W. (in press). Effects of Improving Teachers’ Content Knowledge on Teaching and Student Learning in Physical Education. Research Quarterly in Exercise and Sport.
  3. Li, W., Rukavina, P., Foster, C. (2013). Overweight or obese students’ perceptions of caring in urban physical education programs". Journal of Sport Behavior. Vol. 36, 189-208.
  4. Zhang, P., Ward, P., Li, W., Sutherland, S., Goodway, J. (2012). Effects of play practice on teaching table tennis skills. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 31, 71-85.
  5. Li, W. Rukavina, P. (2012). Including overweight or obese students in physical education: A social ecological constraint model. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sports, 83, 570-578(9).
  6. Li, W., Rukavina, P., Sutherland, S., Shen, B., Kim, I. (2012). Physical education in the eyes of overweight or obese adolescents’ parents. Journal of Sport behavior, 35, 204-222.
  7. Li, W., Rukavina, P. (2012). The nature, occurring contexts, and psychological implications of weight-related teasing in urban physical education programs. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 83, 308-317.
  8. Li, W., Rukavina, P., Wright, P. M. (2012). Coping against weight-related teasing among overweight or obese adolescents in urban physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 31, 182-199.
  9.  Rukavina, P., Li, W. (2011). Adolescents’ perceptions of controllability and its relationship to explicit obesity bias. Journal of School Health, 1, 8-14.
  10. Shen, B., Li, W., Sun, H., Rukavina, P. (2010). The influence of inadequate teacher-to-student social support on amotivation of physical education students. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 29, 417-432.
  11. Rukavina, P., Li, W., Bo, S., Sun, H. (2010). A service learning based project to change implicit and explicit bias toward obese individuals in kinesiology pre-professionals. Obesity Facts: The European Journal of Obesity, 3, 117-152.
  12. Shen, B., Wingert, R. K., Li, W., Sun, H. Rukavina, P. B. (2010). An amotivation model in physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 29, 72-84.
  13. Wright, P. M., Li, W., Ding, S., Pickering, M. (2010). Integrating a personal and social responsibility program into a wellness course for Urban high school students: Assessing implementation and educational outcomes. Sport, Education, and Society, 15, 277-298.
  14. Li, W., Rukavina, P. (2009). A review on coping mechanisms against obesity bias in physical activity/education settings. Obesity reviews, 10, 87-95(9)
  15. Wright, P., Li, W. (2009). Exploring the relevance of positive youth development in urban physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14, 241-251.
  16. Li, W., Lee, A. M., Solmon, M. A. (2008). Effects of dispositional ability conceptions, situational ability conceptions, and intrinsic motivation on persistence and performance: An interaction approach. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 79, 51-61.
  17. Rukavina, P., Li, W. (2008). School physical activity interventions: Do not forget about obesity bias. Obesity Reviews, 9, 67-75.
  18. Li, W., Wright, P., M., Rukavina, P., Pickering, M. (2008). Measuring students’ perceptions of personal and social responsibility and its relationship to intrinsic motivation in urban physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 27, 167-178.
  19. Li, W., Lee, A. M., Solmon, M. A. (2007). The role of perceptions of task difficulty in relation to self-perceptions of ability, intrinsic value, attainment value, and performance. European Physical Education Review, 13, 301-318.
  20. Li, W., Xiang, P. (2007). Ability conceptions in physical education: Some measurement considerations. Quest, 59, 358-372.
  21. Li, W., Lee, A.M. Solmon, M. A. (2006). Gender Difference in Beliefs about the Influence of Ability and Effort in Sport and Physical Activity. Sex Role, 54, 147-156.
  22. Li, W. (2006). Understanding the Meaning of Effort in Learning a Motor Skill: Ability Conception. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 25, 295-306.
  23. Li, W., Lee, A.M. Solmon, M. A. (2005). Relationship among dispositional ability conceptions, intrinsic motivation, perceived competence, experience, and performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 24, 51-65.
  24. Li, W., Lee, A. M. (2004). A review of ability conceptions and related motivational constructs in achievement motivation. Quest, 4, 439-461.