Examining the Associations Between Relatedness and Motivational Regulations Within Different Exercise Contexts: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

  • Author / Creator
    Mathieu, Eric D
  • There are numerous forms of exercise in which an individual can partake. Some individuals will persist at one activity while others will persist at another activity. Research has been limited in exploring motivational characteristics of participants in different activities, with some past research not clearly specifying what activity their sample performs. The present research, grounded in self-determination theory, was an examination of the motivational characteristics of individuals who participate in 5 activities of interest: yoga (n=116), Crossfit (n=156), running (n=138), walking (n=92), and spin (n=133). Participants ranged in age from 18-83, were predominantly Caucasian females. Crossfitters, yogis, and spinners were recruited from private facilities. Walkers and runners were recruited from facilities that organized a place and time for the exercisers to meet. Using cross sectional methods, it was found that yogis endorsed greater revitalization goals than other activities while people in primarily aerobic activities tended to endorse body image goals more than other activities. People in activities with greater interaction reported greater relatedness satisfaction than other activities. Needs for competence and autonomy were differentially satisfied among participants of the activities. Endorsement of the motivational regulations was similar across the activities, walkers endorsed less self-determined motives more than other activities. Effect sizes varied from small-medium revealing some substantial between activity group differences, particularly in reference to superiority goals, weight management goals, social goals, and relatedness. The research may be used to design programs that encourage individuals with certain motives for exercising to select activities that would be consistent with their motives so as to be surrounded with like-minded individuals. Additionally, the findings inform future research of the importance of clearly defining the physical activities being examined.

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  • Degree
    Master of Arts
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