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Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), this study had two purposes: (a) examine the associations between intrinsic (relative to extrinsic) exercise goal content and cognitive, affective, and behavioral Outcomes: and (b) test the mediating role of psychological need satisfaction in the Exercise Goal Content -> Outcomes relationship. Using a sample of 410 adults, hierarchical regression analysis showed relative intrinsic goal content to positively predict physical self-worth, self-reported exercise behavior, psychological well-being, and psychological need satisfaction and negatively predict exercise anxiety. Except for exercise behavior, the predictive utility of relative intrinsic goal content oil the dependent variables of interest remained significant after controlling for participants' relative self-determined exercise motivation. Structural equation modeling analyses showed psychological need satisfaction to partially mediate the effect of relative intrinsic goal content Oil the outcome variables. Our findings support further investigation of exercise goals commensurate with the goal content perspective advanced in SDT.
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Examining Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic
Exercise Goals: Cognitive, Affective,
and Behavioral Outcomes
Simon J. Sebire,1 Martyn Standage,1
and Maarten Vansteenkiste2
1University of Bath and 2University of Gent
Grounded in self-determination theory (SDT), this study had two purposes: (a) exam-
ine the associations between intrinsic (relative to extrinsic) exercise goal content and
cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes; and (b) test the mediating role of psy-
chological need satisfaction in the Exercise Goal Content Outcomes relationship.
Using a sample of 410 adults, hierarchical regression analysis showed relative intrinsic
goal content to positively predict physical self-worth, self-reported exercise behavior,
psychological well-being, and psychological need satisfaction and negatively
exercise anxiety. Except for exercise behavior, the predictive utility of relative intrin-
sic goal content on the dependent variables of interest remained signicant after con-
trolling for participants’ relative self-determined exercise motivation. Structural
equation modeling analyses showed psychological need satisfaction to partially medi-
ate the effect of relative intrinsic goal content on the outcome variables. Our ndings
support further investigation of exercise goals commensurate with the goal content
perspective advanced in SDT.
Keywords: exercise goals, psychological need satisfaction, self-determination theory
The goals on which individuals focus their exercise efforts (e.g., to improve
their health or to enhance their appearance) are a common foundation from which
to explore the motivation for, and the experiences of, exercise engagement. It is
postulated within self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) that “all
goals are not created equal” (Ryan, Sheldon, Kasser, & Deci, 1996, p. 7) and that
valuing goals with different foci will be differentially associated with well-being
and adjustment outcomes (Vansteenkiste, Lens, & Deci, 2006).
Specically within SDT, goals with intrinsic and extrinsic content are distin-
guished. Intrinsic goals are those focused toward developing one’s personal interests,
values, and potentials and are inherently satisfying to pursue. These characteristics
Sebire and Standage are with Motivation for Sport, Exercise, and Health (MESH), the School for
Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom, and Vansteenkiste is with the Department of
Psychology, University of Gent, Gent, Belgium.
Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2009, 31, 189-210
© 2009 Human Kinetics, Inc.
190 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
align with the organismic foundations of the self within SDT, as humans are consid-
ered to be active and have an innate tendency to develop and rene their sense of self
(Deci & Ryan, 2000). Extrinsic goals are primarily characterized by having an “out-
ward” orientation, with one’s pursuits being directed toward external indicators of
worth such as wealth, fame, and appealing image (Kasser & Ryan, 1993, 1996; Van-
steenkiste et al., 2006). Unlike intrinsic goal pursuit, Deci and Ryan (2000) contend
that extrinsic goal pursuit neither stems from nor contributes to the development of
oneself and may be antithetical to it. Past work focused on people’s life aspirations
has considered goals such as community contribution, social afliation, health and
tness, and self-acceptance to reect intrinsic goals, whereas nancial success,
appearance, popularity, power, and conformity have been categorized as extrinsic
goals (Grouzet et al., 2005; Kasser & Ryan, 1996; Vansteenkiste, Neyrinck, et al.,
2007). The pursuit of intrinsic versus extrinsic life goals has been positively associ-
ated with well-being (e.g., self-actualization and vitality) and negatively associated
with indices of ill-being (e.g., depression and anxiety (see Kasser, 2002; Vansteenkiste,
Soenens, & Duriez, 2008 for an overview). Moreover, recent research has found that
intrinsic versus extrinsic goals within specic life domains are associated with adap-
tive outcomes such as greater job-based satisfaction, vitality, and less emotional
exhaustion (Vansteenkiste, Neyrinck, et al., 2007). The purpose of the current study
was to extend this line of inquiry to the exercise domain. Specically, we sought to
(a) investigate the associations between relative intrinsic exercise goals and a number
of exercise-based outcomes (i.e., self-reported leisure time exercise engagement,
exercise-based anxiety, physical self-worth, psychological well-being, and psycho-
logical need satisfaction) and (b) test whether any associations identied between
exercise goals and outcomes were mediated by exercise-based psychological need
satisfaction as forwarded within SDT.
Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Exercise Goal Content
The effects of what in SDT is termed goal content has received some prior
research attention in the exercise domain, in which case the term exercise
motives, or reasons, was used (Ingledew & Markland, 2008; Maltby & Day,
2001; Markland & Ingledew, 1997, 2007; Silberstein, Striegel-Moore, Timko, &
Rodin, 1988). Although informative and often couched in Deci and Ryan’s
framework, this work has not always been directly aligned with the goal content
perspective advanced in SDT (see Sebire, Standage, & Vansteenkiste, 2008). In
an attempt to extend goal content research to the exercise context, in our recent
work we made a concerted effort to align goal categorizations with the writings
of Deci, Ryan, and their colleagues (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Kasser & Ryan, 1996;
Sheldon, Ryan, Deci, & Kasser, 2004). Aligned with denitions of intrinsic and
extrinsic life aspirations (Kasser & Ryan, 1993, 1996), we labeled domain-spe-
cic exercise goals for health management, skill development, and social afli-
ation as having intrinsic content (i.e., reecting a more self-actualizing
orientation), and exercise goals of image improvement and social recognition as
having extrinsic content (i.e., an outward orientation) (Sebire et al., 2008). By
studying goal contents that align with the intrinsic/extrinsic goal denitions for-
Exercise Goal Content 191
warded in SDT, we can attempt to further understand motivation for exercise by
gaining conceptual precision, which in turn facilitates the examination of theo-
retically derived hypotheses.1
There is a growing body of empirical evidence to suggest that exercising in
the service of intrinsic and extrinsic goals yields differential outcomes. For exam-
ple, although not coming from a SDT perspective, Crawford and Eklund’s (1994)
work with a sample of college-age females documented that the exercise goal of
improved appearance (i.e., an extrinsic goal) was positively related, whereas
health goals (i.e., an intrinsic goal) were unrelated, to social physique anxiety.
Similarly, among regularly exercising undergraduate students, holding appear-
ance-based exercise goals has been shown to correlate positively with indices of
ill-being and negatively with self-esteem (Maltby & Day, 2001). Lastly, in a
sample of male and female rst-time tness center members, tness, competence
(measuring skill development) and social interaction goals positively correlated
with class attendance and workout enjoyment, whereas appearance goals were
unrelated to attendance, exercise adherence, and enjoyment (Ryan, Frederick,
Lepes, Rubio, & Sheldon, 1997, Study 2).
Although the lack of a measure of exercise-based goal content aligned with
the conceptualization of intrinsic and extrinsic goals within SDT has precluded
past research from exploring the concomitants of participants’ reported goals,
experimental work has examined the contextual promotion of intrinsic and extrin-
sic goals (see Vansteenkiste, Soenens, & Lens, 2007 for a review). For example,
Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Sheldon, and Deci (2004, Study 3) compared a group
of high school students who, before learning tae-bo exercises, read a motivational
script based on intrinsic goals (informing them that learning tae-bo could help
improve their tness / health) with students who read an extrinsic goal-focused
motivational script (informing them that learning tae-bo exercise was a useful way
to improve their appearance). The intrinsic goal-framing group displayed greater
behavioral persistence and graded performance on the tae-bo exercise.
In a further study, Vansteenkiste, Simons, Soenens, and Lens (2004) demon-
strated that students exposed to an intrinsic goal manipulation displayed better
performance and greater short- and long-term behavioral persistence at the tae-bo
exercise than students in a control group who were not exposed to any goal manip-
ulation (i.e., neither intrinsic nor extrinsic goal promotion). Those exposed to an
extrinsic goal manipulation displayed reduced performance compared with both
those participants involved in the control and intrinsic goal condition. Interest-
ingly, the pattern of persistence of those involved in the extrinsic goal relative to
the control group was mixed, with extrinsic goal framing resulting in less short-
term persistence, greater medium-term persistence, and equally low long-term
persistence. Follow-up within-condition correlation analyses indicated, however,
that extrinsic goal-oriented individuals’ persistence was not associated with enjoy-
ment and valuation of the activity, whereas it was for those in the control group.
Vansteenkiste, Simons, Soenens, et al. (2004) argued that the persistence of those
in the extrinsic goal condition was less authentic in nature, presumably because it
was more strongly oriented toward attaining the primed external indicators of
worth. Nevertheless, the ndings showed that extrinsic goal framing might prompt
individuals to put forth extra effort in the exercise activity at hand.
192 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goal Content
and Psychological Need Satisfaction
From the SDT perspective, the aforementioned differential effects of intrinsic and
extrinsic exercise goal pursuit are brought about owing to the degree to which the
different goal contents promote satisfaction of individuals’ basic psychological
needs. Within SDT, three psychological needs are forwarded: autonomy (to expe-
rience oneself as the originator of one’s behavior), competence (to feel that one
can master challenges), and relatedness (to feel a sense of meaningful connected-
ness within one’s social milieu) (Deci & Ryan, 2000).
Supporting this theoretical reasoning, Rijavec, Brdar, and Miljković (2006)
reported intrinsic, relative to extrinsic life goal pursuit to be positively associated
with general need satisfaction (also see Kasser, 2002, for an overview). Further,
work in the organizational domain has found the suppression of employees’ psy-
chological need satisfaction within the work place to mediate the negative rela-
tionships between relative extrinsic work goal pursuit and work-related outcomes
(viz., job vitality, job satisfaction, and dedication) (Vansteenkiste, Neyrinck et al.,
2007). As the satisfaction of one’s basic psychological needs represents a critical
mechanism by which the disparate effects of intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuit on
outcome variables may be explained (Vansteenkiste, Soenens et al., 2007), in the
present work we expected need satisfaction to mediate the Relative Intrinsic
Goal Outcome Variable relationship.
Distinguishing Exercise Goal Content
and Behavioral Regulation
It is important to note that within SDT, the content of goals (i.e., intrinsic vs.
extrinsic) is conceptually distinguished from the behavioral regulation with
which goals are pursued (i.e., whether one’s motivation is autonomous or con-
trolled). Whereas autonomous motivation stems from the inherent satisfaction or
pleasure that a behavior brings (intrinsic motivation) from aligning one’s actions
with other aspects of the self (integrated regulation) or from personally valuing
a behavior (identied regulation), controlled motivation reects behavioral
enactment to attain ego enhancement, to suppress intraindividual feelings of
guilt, shame, and anxiety (introjected regulation), or to comply with external
pressuring demands (external regulation) (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Theoretically, it
is maintained that intrinsic and extrinsic goals can be pursued for both autono-
mous and controlled reasons (Deci & Ryan, 2000). To illustrate the distinction,
an individual may attend an exercise class to improve their health (an intrinsic
goal) because they personally value good health (autonomous behavioral regula-
tion), or because they feel pressured to improve their health by a medical practi-
tioner (controlled behavioral regulation). Alternatively, an individual may work
out to improve their appearance and physical appeal (an extrinsic goal) because
they personally value looking good (autonomous behavioral regulation) or
because they feel guilty if they do not look good for their partner (controlled
behavioral regulation).
Exercise Goal Content 193
Although goal contents and behavioral regulations are conceptually separated
within SDT, debate exists as to whether this theorizing is supported empirically.
Specically, Carver and Baird (1998) and Srivastava, Locke, and Bartol (2001)
have challenged the ndings of previous investigations of goal content and well-
being (Kasser & Ryan, 1993, 1996) by suggesting that the detrimental effects of
pursuing nancial success aspirations were reducible to the controlled behavioral
regulation associated with such extrinsic goal pursuit. In response to these sugges-
tions, Sheldon et al. (2004) reported a series of studies showing that even though
intrinsic and extrinsic goals are positively correlated with autonomous and con-
trolled behavioral regulations, respectively, both facets predict well-being and
adjustment outcomes at the global life level. Such work supports the tenets of
SDT and implies that both goal content and behavioral regulation are important in
understanding the cognitive and affective correlates of motivational pursuits (Deci
& Ryan, 2000).
In the exercise context, mixed support has emerged with respect to the dis-
tinction between goal content and behavioral regulation in predicting behavioral
outcomes. For instance, in a study of adolescents’ exercise goals as individual
difference variables, Gillison, Standage, and Skevington (2006) found that in line
with the theoretical hypotheses set out in SDT, relationships between intrinsic
and extrinsic exercise goal content and self-reported exercise behavior were only
partially mediated by self-determined exercise motivation. In contrast, a recent
study by Ingledew and Markland (2008) found support for a motivational model
specifying exercise goal content as an antecedent to exercise behavioral regula-
tion, which in turn predicted exercise engagement. Similar ndings have been
reported in investigations in which exercise goals were experimentally manipu-
lated (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, et al., 2004, Study 3). In this instance, after
controlling for students’ autonomous motivation, manipulated exercise goal con-
tent did not directly predict behavioral persistence assessed via student participa-
tion in a free-choice exercise activity although it was uniquely predictive of
students’ rated performance.
The Present Research
This investigation had two main purposes. The rst aim was to extend SDT-based
research that has previously focused on life aspirations to the exercise domain
and explore whether intrinsic relative to extrinsic exercise goals were associated
with adaptive exercise outcomes. We hypothesized that relative intrinsic exercise
goals would positively predict physical self-worth, psychological well-being,
exercise behavior, and psychological need satisfaction and would negatively pre-
dict exercise anxiety. These variables provide a broad set of outcomes to investi-
gate the effect of different exercise goal pursuit that align with SDT and are
relevant to exercise and general life contexts. Within this aim, aligned with previ-
ous work in the general life domain (Sheldon et al., 2004), we sought to explore
whether the relationships identied between goals and outcomes would remain
signicant above and beyond exercise-based behavioral regulations. In addition,
we expected these relationships to be present after controlling for the effects of
two demographic variables (i.e., age and gender). There is evidence to suggest
194 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
that advancing age is negatively related to social physique anxiety (Thøgersen-
Ntoumani & Ntoumanis, 2006) and physical activity (Davis & Fox, 2006) and is
differently associated with aspects of psychological well-being (Keyes & Water-
man, 2003). In addition, relative to females, males report greater participation in
health- promoting physical activity (Martin, Morrow, Jackson, & Dunn, 2000),
greater physical self-worth (Fox & Corbin, 1989; Hayes, Crocker, & Kowalski,
1999), and less social physique anxiety (Thøgersen-Ntoumani & Ntoumanis,
2006). Our second aim was to explore the hypothesized mediating role of need
satisfaction in the relationships proposed in SDT to exist between relative intrin-
sic exercise goals and exercise-related outcomes. It was hypothesized that psy-
chological need satisfaction would mediate these associations.
The initial pool of respondents comprised 424 council employees (i.e., administra-
tive, professional, clerical, and technical employees of local government). To ensure
that the sample consisted only of individuals who reported participation in at least
some mild exercise, 14 individuals who reported no mild, moderate, or vigorous
exercise sessions were excluded from subsequent analyses. The nal sample (N =
410) consisted of 118 males and 292 females (M age = 41.39 years; SD = 11.02;
range = 20–67 years); 97.5% of participants were White.
Following the approval of a local ethics committee and the consent of seven Local
Authorities from the South West of England, an e-mail was sent inviting employ-
ees to participate in an online study of exercise attitudes and behaviors. Data were
collected using online questionnaires, accessed through a URL to the study Web
site that was included in the recruitment e-mail. Participants were required to tick
a box indicating their informed consent. Nonconsenting participants were invited
to close their Web browser.
Exercise Goal Content. The Goal Content for Exercise Questionnaire (GCEQ;
Sebire et al., 2008) is a 20-item measure that assesses the importance that people
place on three intrinsic (health management, skill development, and social aflia-
tion) and two extrinsic (image and social recognition) exercise goals each indexed
by four items. Participants responded to the stem “please indicate to what extent
these goals are important for you while exercising” using a 7-point scale ranging
from 1 (not at all important) to 7 (extremely important). In the present work, the
internal consistency of the subscales was as follows: health management = .80,
skill development = .86, social afliation = .82, image = .87, and social
recognition = .92. A relative intrinsic goals variable2 was calculated by subtract-
ing the mean of extrinsic goal subscales ( = .83) from the mean of intrinsic goal
subscales ( = .85). Because the GCEQ is a recently developed instrument, we
Exercise Goal Content 195
performed both rst- and second-order conrmatory factor analyses to assess evi-
dence pertaining to structural validity. Results supported the structural validity of
the GCEQ scores in the present sample: First-order CFA: 2(160) = 475.27,
p < .001; CFI = .95; SRMR = .05. Second-order CFA: 2(164) = 596.59, p < .001;
CFI = .93; SRMR = .09.
Exercise Behavioral Regulation. The Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Ques-
tionnaire (BREQ; Mullan, Markland, & Ingledew, 1997) was used to assess the
quality of participants’ motivation toward exercise. Aligned with the conceptual-
ization of motivation forwarded in SDT, the BREQ comprises 15-items assessing
intrinsic, identied, introjected, and external motivational regulations. Items are
preceded by the stem “why do you exercise?” and are scored on a 5-point Likert
scale ranging from 0 (not true for me) to 4 (very true for me). In the current study,
the internal consistency of the subscales were as follows: intrinsic regulation =
.92, identied regulation = .77, introjected regulation = .78, and external regu-
lation = .73. The motivation subscales were used to compute a relative auton-
omy index (RAI). Consistent with theory and past work (e.g., McDonough &
Crocker, 2007; Standage & Gillison, 2007), and after conrming that the four
regulatory styles conformed to a simplex pattern (i.e., more proximal regulations
on the continuum correlated to a higher degree than more distal regulations) in
the present data, the RAI was calculated using the following equation: (external
regulation −2) + (introjected regulation −1) + (identied regulation 1) +
(intrinsic regulation 2).
Psychological Need Satisfaction. Satisfaction of the psychological needs for
autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the context of exercise was assessed
using the Psychological Need Satisfaction in Exercise Questionnaire (PNSE;
Wilson, Rogers, Rodgers, & Wild, 2006). The PNSE assesses each need with six
items scored on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (false) to 6 (true). In the
current study, the internal consistencies of the subscales were autonomy = .95,
competence = .93, and relatedness = .94. The 18-items were averaged to
create a composite psychological need satisfaction in exercise score ( = .92).3
Exercise Anxiety. Exercise-related social anxiety was assessed via the Physical
Activity and Sport Anxiety Scale (PASAS; Norton, Hope, & Weeks, 2004). The
PASAS is a 16-item measure that assesses individuals’ fear of negative evaluation
and related avoidance in the physical activity and athletic domains (e.g., “I feel
nervous if other people are watching me when I am exercising / working out”)
using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (extremely uncharacteristic of me) to
5 (extremely characteristic of me). Item responses were summed to form an anxi-
ety score ( = .94).
Physical Self-Worth. The six-item physical self-worth subscale from the
Physical Self Perception Prole (PSPP; Fox & Corbin, 1989) was used to assess
perceptions of worth regarding aspects of the physical self (i.e., happiness, sat-
isfaction, pride, respect and condence). When completing the PSPP, partici-
pants are presented with two statements describing how a person perceives their
physical self: for example, “Some people feel extremely satised with the kind
of person they are physically BUT others sometimes feel a little dissatised
with their physical selves.” Participants are rst asked to decide which of the
196 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
statements best describes them and then to endorse the chosen statement as
either sort of true for me or very true for me. Reverse scoring was applied to
appropriate items, and the six items were then averaged to form an overall phys-
ical self-worth score ( = .87).
Leisure Time Exercise Participation. The Godin Leisure Time Exercise Ques-
tionnaire (LTEQ; Godin & Shephard, 1985) was employed to obtain self-reported
frequency of participation in mild, moderate, and strenuous exercise in bouts
greater than 15 min during a typical week. A total exercise index was computed
by assigning the mild, moderate, and strenuous scores weights of 3, 5, and 9
METs (metabolic equivalents), respectively, and summing these weighted
scores. The LTEQ has demonstrated validity in comparison with objective
assessment tools such as accelerometers (Jacobs, Ainsworth, Hartman, & Leon,
Psychological Well-Being. Consistent with past work (e.g., Ryan & Deci,
2001), two indicators were combined to provide a composite score of psychologi-
cal well-being. The seven-item Subjective Vitality Scale (Ryan & Frederick, 1997)
was used to assess feelings of vitality (e.g., “I feel energized”). Items are scored
on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree).
The alpha coefcient in the current study was = .94. In addition, the Depression-
Happiness Scale (McGreal & Joseph, 1993) was employed to assess feelings of
depression and happiness experienced in the past week. This scale consists of 25
items (e.g., “I felt cheerful” and “I felt like crying”) rated on a 4-point Likert scale
ranging from 0 (never) to 3 (often). Responses were scored in a bipolar fashion in
which depression item scores were reversed and then summed with scores on hap-
piness items ( = .93). Higher scores reect greater perceptions of happiness and
lower feelings of depression. Scores for vitality and depression-happiness were
summed to form a composite psychological well-being variable.
Descriptive Statistics and Relationships
Among Study Variables
Table 1 presents descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations showing associa-
tions among the study variables. Participant age was positively, albeit weakly
correlated with psychological well-being, and negatively correlated with exercise
behavior. In addition, independent t-tests revealed that females reported signi-
cantly greater exercise anxiety than males (Ms = 40.82, SD = 15.04, and 35.01,
SD = 13.65, respectively) t(422) = −3.62, p < .01 (Hedges’s g = 0.40), and signi-
cantly lower physical self-worth (Ms = 2.42, SD = 0.63, and 2.65, SD = 0.55,
respectively) t(422) = 3.39, p < .01 (Hedges’s g = −0.38). Females also tended to
report less exercise participation than males (Ms = 39.71, SD = 24.52, and 44.64,
SD = 21.70 respectively) t(422) = 1.92, p = .06 (Hedges’s g = −0.21). As expected,
relative intrinsic exercise goals correlated positively with RAI.4 Further, both
goal constructs displayed correlations with the dependent variables in the
expected directions.
Table 1 Descriptive Statistics and Bivariate Correlations Among Study Variables
Variable M SD 12345678
1. Age 41.39 11.02
2. Relative intrinsic goals 0.92 1.05 .11*
3. Relative autonomy 6.37 3.27 .18* .41**
4. Need satisfaction 4.17 0.89 −.07# .29** .50**
5. Exercise anxiety 39.14 14.87 −.08 −.33** −.45** −.28**
6. Physical self-worth 2.50 0.62 .10* .36** .52** .42** −.54**
7. Exercise behavior 41.13 22.62 −.09 .13** .38** .34** −.23** .28**
8. Psychological well-being 57.51 13.06 .15** .29** .46** .27** −.39** .51** .23**
Note. *p < .05, **p < .01.
198 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
Effects of Relative Intrinsic Goal Content
on Criterion Variables
As previous work has shown goal content and behavioral regulations to be corre-
lated (Sheldon et al., 2004), before conducting the regression analyses the data
were screened for evidence of collinearity in line with the recommendations of
(Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). The variance ination factor (1.00–1.21) and toler-
ance (0.83–1.00) statistics resided within acceptable ranges. In addition, we simul-
taneously screened the condition indexes and the variance proportion factors
(Edmunds, Ntoumanis, & Duda, 2006; Pedhazur, 1997). The results suggested that
collinearity was not evident in our data as when the condition index exceeded 10,
no two predictors displayed variance proportion factors greater than .50.
Five separate hierarchical (or sequential) regression analyses were con-
ducted to examine the utility of relative intrinsic goal content in predicting the
criterion variables (viz., physical self-worth, exercise anxiety, exercise behav-
ior, psychological well-being, and psychological need satisfaction). This
is (a) aligned with previous work analyzing the unique contributions
of goal content and behavioral regulations (i.e., Sheldon et al., 2004) and (b)
appropriate to answer the scientic question at hand by providing the unique
variance (or contribution) accounted for by the theoretical set of variables in an
incremental and cumulative fashion (cf. Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003).
In view of the preliminary analysis that showed associations between some
dependent variables and gender and age, these demographic variables were
entered in Step 1 of each regression analysis. Relative intrinsic goals were
entered at Step 2. At Step 3, exercise RAI was entered so as to examine whether
relationships between participants’ relative intrinsic goal scores and the depen-
dent variables remained signicant after controlling for relative autonomous
motivation toward exercise.
The results of the hierarchical regressions are displayed in Table 2. In line
with our hypotheses, after controlling for age and gender, relative intrinsic goal
content positively predicted signicant variance in physical self-worth, exercise
behavior, psychological well-being, and psychological need satisfaction and
was negatively related to exercise anxiety. All of these relationships, except for
the relationship between relative intrinsic goal content and exercise behavior5
remained signicant at the nal step after entering relative autonomous
Mediating Role of Basic Need Satisfaction
Another important aim of this research was to examine whether basic need sat-
isfaction would mediate the observed associations between relative intrinsic
goal content and the dependent variables. Because the bivariate correlations and
hierarchical regression analyses identied relationships between relative intrin-
sic goal content and four of the ve dependent variables, we sought to further
examine the role of psychological need satisfaction in the relations between
relative intrinsic goal content and physical self-worth, exercise anxiety, and psy-
chological well-being, thus excluding exercise behavior. Structural equation
modeling using AMOS Version 7.0 (Arbuckle, 2006) was used to examine these
Table 2 Hierarchical Regression Analyses Predicting Physical Self-worth, Exercise Anxiety, Exercise Behavior,
Psychological Well-Being and Psychological Need Satisfaction From Age, Gender, Relative Intrinsic Goal Content,
and Relative Autonomy
Dependent variables
need satisfaction
Independent variables
Step 1 .03 .03 .01 .02 .01
Age .10 1.96* −.08 −1.57 −.09 −1.92 .15 3.01** −.07 −1.48
Gender −.16 −3.18** .18 3.64** −.10 −2.01* −.04 −0.71 −.08 −1.63
Step 2 .15 .13 .03 .09 .10
Age .06 1.25 −.04 −0.90 −.11 −2.23* .12 2.47* −.11 −2.25*
Gender −.15 −3.20** .17 3.67** −.10 −1.95 −.03 −0.59 −.06 −1.55
Relative intrinsic goals .35 7.67** −.32 −6.86** .14 2.83** .28 5.92** .30 6.42**
Step 3 .30 .24 .16 .22 .27
Age .03 0.60 −.01 −0.33 −.14 −3.04** .09 2.00* −.14 −3.29**
Gender −.12 −2.85** .15 3.35** −.07 −1.52 −.00 −0.05 −.04 −1.01
Relative intrinsic goals .18 3.99** −.17 −3.63** −.02 −0.41 .12 2.58** .12 2.63*
Relative autonomy .43 9.51** −.37 −7.82** .40 8.06** .40 8.27** .46 9.88**
Note. Adj R2 = Adjusted R2. *p < .05, **p < .01.
200 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
The covariance matrix was analyzed using the maximum likelihood estima-
tion method. Inspection of the Mardia’s coefcient (13.01, critical ratio = 7.92)
revealed multivariate nonnormality in the data. Accordingly, analyses were per-
formed using a bootstrapping technique (see Efron & Tibshirani, 1993). In line
with recommendations of Preacher and Hayes (2008) 5000 bootstrap samples
with replacement based on the original sample were requested. Bootstrapping is
benecial under conditions of nonnormality as the bootstrap-generated standard
errors provide a more accurate indication of the parameter estimate stability
(Byrne, 2001; Nevitt & Hancock, 2001).
In line with the two-index presentation strategy advanced by Hu and Bentler
(1998), model t was deemed satisfactory where the comparative t index (CFI)
was >.90 (Bentler, 1995) and excellent where CFI was close to or >.95 (Hu &
Bentler, 1999). For the standardized root mean square of the residual (SRMR),
values of .08 (or lower) are indicative of well-specied models (Bentler, 1995).
Commensurate with recent recommendations (Cheung & Lau, 2008; MacKinnon,
Lockwood, & Williams, 2004; Shrout & Bolger, 2002) the mediating effect of
psychological need satisfaction was explored by examining the 95% upper and
lower limits of bootstrap-generated bias-corrected condence intervals (CI) of the
indirect effects.
To permit an adequate participant-to-estimated parameter ratio, latent vari-
ables representing relative intrinsic goals, physical self-worth, and exercise anxi-
ety were created using a parceling technique. In a discussion of the arguments for
and against the parceling technique, Little, Cunningham, Shahar, and Widaman
(2002) contend that when the primary aim of analysis is to understand the asso-
ciations between latent variables rather than associations between items, parcel-
ing is appropriate as it is a pragmatic solution that (a) reduces the number of
estimated parameters in structural equation models thus aiding identication and
(b) may reduce nonnormality within data. Physical self-worth and exercise anxi-
ety latent variables were indexed by two randomly generated parcels each, formed
by averaging the sum of the appropriate randomly selected items. Two parcels
representing relative intrinsic goals were created by subtracting the average of
half of the extrinsic goal items from the average of half of the intrinsic goal items
(ensuring balanced representation of each goal factor in each parcel). This pro-
cess was repeated with the remaining halves of the extrinsic and intrinsic goal
items to create the second parcel. In line with previous research (Deci et al.,
2001; Standage, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2005), a latent variable representing total
need satisfaction was indexed using autonomy, competence, and relatedness sub-
scale scores as indicators. Subjective vitality and depression-happiness scores
served as two independent observed indicators for the psychological well-being
latent variable. Owing to signicant correlations between the three psychosocial
dependent variables (see Table 1) their disturbance terms were allowed to covary.
These minor modications resulted in an adequate participant to estimated
parameter ratio (15:1; Bentler & Chou, 1987) and the model was found to be ade-
quately identied.
Aligned with the hypothesized sequence of motivational processes advanced
in SDT, a model (Figure 1) was tested in which relative intrinsic goals predicted
psychological need satisfaction, which in turn (positively) predicted physical self-
worth and psychological well-being and (negatively) predicted exercise anxiety.
Exercise Goal Content 201
This model displayed a satisfactory t to the data: 2(37) = 194.26, p < .001; CFI
= .93; SRMR = .07. The standardized parameter estimates showed relative intrin-
sic goal content scores to positively predict psychological need satisfaction, which
was in turn positively predictive of physical self-worth and psychological well-
being and negatively predictive of exercise anxiety. The signicant standardized
indirect effects observed between relative intrinsic goals and the dependent vari-
ables—physical self-worth, = .29, 95% CI = .17 to .42; exercise anxiety, =
−.21, 95% CI = −.31 to −.12; and psychological well-being, = .26, 95% CI = .16
to .38—supported a mediating role of psychological need satisfaction as advanced
in SDT.
To examine whether psychological need satisfaction fully or partially medi-
ated the effects of relative intrinsic goal content on the dependent variables, a
second model which specied direct paths from relative intrinsic exercise goals to
physical self-worth, exercise anxiety, and psychological well-being was tested.
This respecied model (Figure 2) displayed improved t to the data: 2(34) =
168.78, p < .001; CFI = .94; SRMR = .05. Examination of the bootstrap-generated
bias-corrected CIs revealed that in addition to signicant direct effects (which are
aligned with the results of the rst model), signicant standardized indirect effects
emerged for relative intrinsic goal content on physical self-worth ( = .17, 95% CI
= .10 to .26), exercise anxiety ( = −.11, 95% CI = −.18 to −.06), and psychologi-
cal well-being ( = .17, 95% CI = .09 to .28). Such ndings support partial media-
tion. Inspection of the percentage of the total effect that was attributable to the
indirect effect (physical self-worth = 40%, exercise anxiety = 31%, and psychologi-
cal well-being = 56%) suggested that a substantial amount of the variance in the
outcome variables was accounted for by the mediating role of need satisfaction.
Figure 1Preliminary structural model showing relationships between relative intrinsic
exercise goals, psychological need satisfaction, and outcomes as hypothesized within self-
determination theory. Note. All paths are standardized and signicant (i.e., Z > 1.96). Boot-
strap standard errors of the parameter estimates are shown in parentheses. The correlations
between the disturbance terms of the dependent variables were rphysical self-worth–exercise anxiety =
−.42, rexercise anxiety–psychological well-being = −.20, and rphysical self-worth–psychological well-being = .36.
202 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
The present study examined (a) the relationship between relative intrinsic exercise
goal content and a range of exercise-related outcomes and psychological well-
being and (b) the mediating role of exercise-based psychological need satisfaction
in the relationships between relative intrinsic exercise goals and the dependent
variables. In general, the ndings supported our hypotheses and the theoretical
tenets put forth in SDT (cf. Deci & Ryan, 2000).
Relative Intrinsic Exercise Goals
Previous work has documented positive associations between valuing intrinsic
relative to extrinsic goals and adaptive outcomes at a global level (Kasser & Ryan,
1993, 1996) and in specic life domains (Vansteenkiste, Neyrinck et al., 2007).
Extending this work to the exercise context, our results support such ndings, as
placing greater importance on intrinsic goals (i.e., improving one’s health, advanc-
ing one’s exercise skills, or fostering meaningful relationships) relative to extrinsic
goals (i.e., enhancing one’s image and being recognized for one’s exercise behav-
iors) were positively associated with reported exercise engagement, physical self-
worth, and psychological well-being and negatively associated with feelings of
anxiety. Our study is the rst in the exercise context to use a relative-goal approach
as recommended within the SDT literature (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Sheldon et al.,
2004). The ndings support previous research using absolute intrinsic and extrin-
sic exercise goals (Crawford & Eklund, 1994; Maltby & Day, 2001; Ryan et al.,
1997, Study 2) and advance such inquiry by highlighting the adaptive outcomes of
adopting an exercise goal orientation dominated by intrinsic pursuits.
Figure 2 Revised structural model showing direct and indirect relationships between
relative intrinsic exercise goals, psychological need satisfaction, and outcomes. Note. All
paths are standardized and signicant (i.e., Z > 1.96). Bootstrap standard errors of the pa-
rameter estimates are shown in parentheses. The correlations between the disturbance terms
of the dependent variables were rphysical self-worth–exercise anxiety = –.42, rexercise anxiety–psychological well-
being = –.23, and rphysical self-worth–psychological well-being = .40.
Exercise Goal Content 203
Not only does the present data show intrinsic goal content to contribute to
more adaptive affective and behavioral functioning in exercise, but also that most
of these effects remain signicant when controlling for the effects of exercisers’
relative autonomous regulation toward exercise engagement. This is an important
nding, as some researchers (e.g., Carver & Baird, 1998; Srivastava et al., 2001)
have criticized the differentiation between intrinsic and extrinsic goals for being
conceptually analogous to the distinction between autonomous and controlled
behavioral regulation. Both types of conceptualizations are indeed empirically
related to one another, as also shown in the present research, presumably because
they both assess exercisers’ quality of motivation. Nevertheless, commensurate
with previous ndings pertaining to life aspirations (Sheldon et al., 2004), the
relationships identied between relative intrinsic exercise goals and physical self-
worth, well-being, and exercise anxiety remained signicant after accounting for
relative autonomous exercise motivation. Relative autonomous motivation yielded
a signicant effect on all outcomes in the expected directions, thereby supporting
the ndings of previous research (Thøgersen-Ntoumani & Ntoumanis, 2006;
Wilson, Rodgers, Fraser, & Murray, 2004).
No independent effect of relative intrinsic goal content over relative autono-
mous motivation was found for self-reported exercise behavior. Although depart-
ing from our hypothesis, this nding is consistent with previous observations
regarding objective behavioral (rather than self-reported) indices of exercise
(Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens et al., 2004) and aligns with a model of motivation
forwarded by Ingledew and Markland (2008). With the latter in mind, Ingledew
and Markland’s model species goal content as an antecedent to behavioral regu-
lation which in turn positively predicts exercise engagement. While supporting
the empirical evidence pointing toward the benecial cognitive and affective con-
sequences of both relative intrinsic goals and relative autonomous motivation
(Sheldon et al., 2004), our ndings suggest that relative intrinsic exercise goal
content may be predictive of exercise behavior to the degree that it is associated
with autonomous vs. controlled exercise behavioral regulation. Perhaps a feasible
explanation for this null nding may reside with potential variations in the tempo-
ral focus of the “what” and “why” variables couched within SDT. Specically, it
may be that the focus on the content of one’s exercise goals (or the “what” facet)
are too distal (e.g., the promise of social recognition, the ideal appearance, etc) to
predict recently enacted behavior, especially above and beyond the reasons (or
“why”) by which one is motivated to act. As the present data showed intrinsic and
extrinsic goals to be associated with autonomous and controlled motivation
respectively, future longitudinal research would do well to examine whether the
“why” facet of SDT serves to mediate the effects of one’s goal content on recent-
and longer-term patterns of exercise behavior.
Future work might also want to examine the null effect of goal content on
exercise behavior using improved methodological procedures. First, similar to
recent work (e.g., Standage, Sebire, & Loney, 2008) examining the relationships
between motivational regulations and exercise behavior, future research might
want to advance on the current ndings, employing more objective estimates of
exercise engagement (i.e., rather than self-reported) before any rm conclusions
can be drawn regarding the utility of the “what” in predicting behavioral exer-
cise engagement above and beyond the “why”. Second, in doing so, it would be
204 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
particularly useful to examine the emotional experience that goes along with
exercising, because it is possible that, although relatively intrinsic and extrinsic
goal-oriented individuals may not engage in exercise to a quantitatively different
degree, the exercise engagement might be associated with more feelings of anxi-
ety and negative affect rather than vitality and positive affect. In line with such a
suggestion, Vansteenkiste, Simons, Soenens, et al. (2004) found that the exercise
engagement of participants involved in an extrinsic goal framing condition was
less authentic relative to those involved in an intrinsic goal condition. Third,
longitudinal assessment of exercise engagement would be advantageous, as
extrinsic goal valuation might prompt some initial exercise engagement but is
unlikely to foster long-term exercise adherence (Vansteenkiste, Simons, Soenens,
et al., 2004).
Considering the amount of variance in all assessed outcomes that is accounted
for by relative intrinsic goal content and relative autonomous behavioral regula-
tion, it should be noted that in each case relative autonomous behavioral regulation
accounted for a greater proportion of variance than did goal content. These ndings
are in line with those of Sheldon et al. (2004), who found autonomous and controlled
reasons to be more strongly predictive of well-being than were goal contents.
reason why this might be the case is that goals are by denition more cognitive in
nature, while autonomous and controlled regulations rather reect subjective expe-
riences, which are more likely to be associated with affective outcomes, such as the
ones assessed in the present research. For instance, discriminating attitudes toward
obese or less active individuals might be more strongly affected by exercisers’ goal
content than by their exercise regulation (see Duriez, Vansteenkiste, Soenens, &
Dewitte, 2007), an issue that might be investigated in future work.
From an applied perspective, our ndings suggest that exercisers and exercise
practitioners alike may benet by paying attention to the explicit content of their
own, or their clients exercise goals respectively, in addition to the behavioral regula-
tions attributed to the goals. In future work conducted in ecologically valid exercise
settings, researchers may wish to study the degree to which exercise environments,
promotion schemes, and practitioners advocate intrinsic and extrinsic exercise goals
and the associations that such goal promotions may have with people’s exercise
goals, behavioral regulation, and the engagement, enjoyment, and experience of
exercise participation.
Exercise Goals and Psychological Need Satisfaction
The theoretical tenets put forth in SDT hold that relative intrinsic goal pursuit
yields adaptive benets via the facilitation of psychological need satisfaction
(Kasser, Ryan, Couchman, & Sheldon, 2004). This study represents the rst
attempt to test such reasoning in the exercise domain. It was found that relative
intrinsic exercise goals positively predicted psychological need satisfaction. Con-
sistent with the other psychosocial dependent variables in the study, this effect
remained signicant after controlling for participant’s level of self-determination.
In line with past work in other physical activity contexts (McDonough & Crocker,
2007; Reinboth, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2004), psychological need satisfaction was
positively predictive of well-being and physical self-worth while being negatively
predictive of exercise anxiety.
Exercise Goal Content 205
With regards to mediation, the structural equation modeling analysis showed
that consistent with past work and theoretical propositions (Vansteenkiste et al.,
2006) psychological need satisfaction partially mediated the effect of relative
intrinsic goal content on physical self-worth, exercise anxiety, and well-being.
These ndings align with hypotheses that intrinsic goals promote an inward
orientation and facilitate the satisfaction of one’s psychological needs, whereas
extrinsic goals are oriented toward external indicators of worth and thus thwart
psychological need satisfaction (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Research in the organiza-
tional domain (Vansteenkiste, Neyrinck, et al., 2007) has identied mediation
of the effects of employment goal content on job-related outcomes by psycho-
need satisfaction at work; our results suggest that ascribing more impor-
tance to intrinsic, relative to extrinsic exercise goals has benecial effects on
outcomes both directly, and indirectly via exercise-based psychological need
When attempting to explain why goals with diverse content might differently
satisfy psychological needs, goal content researchers have proposed various
cognitive-attentional processes (labeled micromediational mechanisms) hypoth-
esized to be proximally related to intrinsic and extrinsic goal pursuit (see
Vansteenkiste, Soenens, & Duriez, 2008, for an overview). Specically, three
micromediational mechanisms have been forwarded to help understand the
effects of relative intrinsic goal pursuit on basic need satisfaction; that is, the
proposition that extrinsic relative to intrinsic, goals (a) focuses people’s attention
toward factors external to the exercising task, thus undermining a strong absorp-
tion in the task at hand (Vansteenkiste, Matos, Lens, & Soenens, 2007), (b) induces
stressful interpersonal comparisons within the exercise setting, and (c) promotes
a rigid approach to both the exercise activity (i.e., supercial task engagement)
and other people in the exercise setting (i.e., objectifying others rather than fos-
tering meaningful relationships). The attentional shift, engagement in social
comparison processes, and rigid approach that is more likely to go along with the
pursuit of extrinsic, relative to intrinsic, goals might help to explain why extrin-
sic, relative to intrinsic, goal-oriented individuals fail to get their basic needs for
competence, relatedness, and autonomy met. At present, however, research
exploring these mechanisms is in its early stages. Therefore, future studies explor-
ing experiences of, and approaches to exercise of those oriented toward pursuit of
relatively strong intrinsic or extrinsic exercise goals would help to further develop
previously identied processes and perhaps discover alternative micromedia-
tional mechanisms.
The present results are based on data from a homogeneous sample. As such, future
work would do well to extend the ndings from our sample to more diverse popu-
lations. A second limitation of this work is the cross-sectional study design, mean-
ing directional effects can only be inferred from the hypotheses but were not
explicitly tested with the present dataset. Although the tenets set out in SDT and
the present ndings suggest that relative intrinsic goal pursuit yields psychologi-
cal need satisfaction, the goal content–need satisfaction relationship is forwarded
as bidirectional, such that extrinsic goal pursuit may lead to need satisfaction, or
206 Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste
be compensation for previously thwarted psychological needs (Kasser, 2002;
Williams, Cox, Hedberg, & Deci, 2000). Longitudinal research designed to
explore the temporal interplay between exercise-related psychological need satis-
faction and exercise goal content in naturally occurring exercise contexts may
facilitate understanding of the possible cyclical nature of these variables. Finally,
the current study and past research exploring the effects of both the what and why
on exercise behavior has employed self-reported measures of exercise behavior/
participation (Gillison et al., 2006; Ingledew & Markland, 2008). Future work
embracing technological advances in the objective estimation of exercise behavior
(see Standage et al., 2008) may assist in further understanding the interrelation-
ships among the what and why facets of SDT and exercise behavior.
In support of SDT, the present research shows that the content of exercisers’
goals can be useful in understanding adaptive psychosocial exercise outcomes,
and that such inquiry is informative alongside the study of exercise behavioral
regulations. The results also showed that the positive effects of relative intrinsic
exercise goal content on physical self-worth, exercise anxiety, and psychological
well-being were partially mediated by satisfaction of exercisers’ psychological
needs. Together, these ndings highlight the explicit content of exerciser’s goals
as worthy of consideration when attempting to understand important outcomes in
the exercise domain.
1. As conceptual clarity is central to the present work, the term exercise goal content will be
used to refer to the explicit content of exercise goals.
2. A relative extrinsic goal composite variable will give equivalent results to a relative intrin-
sic goal score but with opposite sign. We decided in this study to focus on the relative intrinsic
goal perspective.
3. This approach represents a deviation from that used by the authors of the PNSE (Wilson
et al., 2006), although past SDT work has employed a composite need satisfaction score (Deci
et al., 2001). As such we performed a higher order CFA to investigate whether the three PNSE
scores could be represented by a composite need satisfaction variable. After constraining the
uniqueness of the competence variable to zero owing to a negative variance estimate, the t of
the model to the data were as follows: 2(133) = 553.42, p < .001; CFI = .94; SRMR = .05, sup-
porting the use of a composite psychological need satisfaction variable.
4. We conducted a CFA using the GCEQ and BREQ items simultaneously to explore the
constructs representing the “what” and “why”. Nine latent variables were specied reecting the
ve GCEQ and four BREQ subscales. The t of the CFA model to the data were good; 2(524)
= 157.40, p < .001; CFI = .92; SRMR = .06. All items loaded signicantly (p < .001) on their
intended factor with a value of >.42 (71% of factor loadings were ≥ .70). Inspection of modica-
tion indices revealed no problematic cross-loading items.
5. Given that exercise behavioral regulation has been found to be predictive of vigorous and
purposeful engagement in exercise rather than lower intensity incidental behaviors (Edmunds
et al., 2006), we repeated our regression analysis using separate mild, moderate, and strenuous
exercise components of the LTEQ. Both relative intrinsic exercise goal content and exercise
Exercise Goal Content 207
RAI were signicant and positive predictors of moderate and strenuous exercise engagement
intensities. In line with our nding pertaining to total exercise behavior, after entering RAI, the
relationship between relative intrinsic goals and both moderate and strenuous exercise behavior
indices were no longer signicant.
6. At the request of an anonymous reviewer, we repeated the hierarchical regression analysis
using individual intrinsic and extrinsic goal content variables at Step 2 and individual autono-
mous and controlled behavioral regulation variables at Step 3. The results largely replicated the
analyses using relative goal content and behavioral regulation variables. Intrinsic goals posi-
tively, and extrinsic goals negatively, predicted physical self-worth at Steps 2 and 3. Intrinsic
goals negatively, and extrinsic goals positively, predicted exercise anxiety at Steps 2 and 3.
Psychological well-being was positively predicted by intrinsic goals and negatively predicted by
extrinsic goals at Steps 2 and 3. Exercise behavior was positively predicted by intrinsic goals at
Step 2 but not at Step 3. Finally, intrinsic goals were a positive predictor of psychological need
satisfaction at Steps 2 and 3 whereas extrinsic goals did not predict this variable. A table of these
results is available from the rst author on request.
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Manuscript received: April 14, 2008 Revision accepted: October 9, 2008
... Así, metas como la afiliación social, la gestión de la salud y el desarrollo de habilidades se conceptualizarían como metas intrínsecas, mientras que la mejora de la imagen y el reconocimiento social se conceptualizarían como metas extrínsecas. Según esta propuesta, diversos trabajos han explorado la relación entre este tipo de variables motivacionales y los hábitos de práctica de ejercicio físico (Sebire et al., 2009(Sebire et al., , 2011. Sintetizando los resultados de algunos de estos estudios, el trabajo de revisión de Teixeira et al. (2012) informa de la existencia de relaciones positivas entre la adopción de metas intrínsecas como el desarrollo de habilidades o la afiliación social y la adherencia a la práctica de ejercicio físico. ...
... Los hallazgos del presente estudio sugieren la potencial relación diferenciada de cada una de las metas propuestas para el contexto del ejercicio físico (Sebire et al., 2008) de acuerdo a los postulados teóricos de la mini-teoría de contenido de metas enmarcada en la TAD (Ryan & Deci, 2017, 2019) con sus potenciales consecuencias. En este sentido, los resultados del presente estudio apoyan los aportados por investigaciones previas (Deelen et al., 2018;Richards et al., 2017;Sibley & Bergman, 2016) por cuanto coinciden en señalar la conveniencia de examinar dichas metas no ya agrupadas según su carácter intrínseco o extrínseco (Duncan et al., 2017;Gunnell et al., 2014;Sebire et al., 2009;Seghers et al., 2014) o en función de la prevalencia de uno u otro carácter (Gunnell et al., 2014;Sebire et al., 2009) sino, alternativamente, de manera individualizada. Estos resultados se muestran en línea con los de anteriores trabajos que también examinaron las potenciales consecuencias en términos de práctica de ejercicio físico de cada una de dichas metas en población adulta (Deelen et al., 2018;Richards et al., 2017;Sibley & Bergman, 2016). ...
... Los hallazgos del presente estudio sugieren la potencial relación diferenciada de cada una de las metas propuestas para el contexto del ejercicio físico (Sebire et al., 2008) de acuerdo a los postulados teóricos de la mini-teoría de contenido de metas enmarcada en la TAD (Ryan & Deci, 2017, 2019) con sus potenciales consecuencias. En este sentido, los resultados del presente estudio apoyan los aportados por investigaciones previas (Deelen et al., 2018;Richards et al., 2017;Sibley & Bergman, 2016) por cuanto coinciden en señalar la conveniencia de examinar dichas metas no ya agrupadas según su carácter intrínseco o extrínseco (Duncan et al., 2017;Gunnell et al., 2014;Sebire et al., 2009;Seghers et al., 2014) o en función de la prevalencia de uno u otro carácter (Gunnell et al., 2014;Sebire et al., 2009) sino, alternativamente, de manera individualizada. Estos resultados se muestran en línea con los de anteriores trabajos que también examinaron las potenciales consecuencias en términos de práctica de ejercicio físico de cada una de dichas metas en población adulta (Deelen et al., 2018;Richards et al., 2017;Sibley & Bergman, 2016). ...
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Building upon self-determination theory, this research was aimed at analysing the influence of specific intrinsic (i.e., social affiliation, health management and skill development) and extrinsic (i.e., image and social recognition) goals on the intention to exercise in adolescents. A total of 282 high and middle school students (146 men and 136 women; Mage = 14.54, SDage = 1.57), completed a questionnaire comprising instruments assessing goal contents in the exercise domain as well as exercise frequency during the last six months and their intention to be physically active. The hypothesized relationships were tested through a regression and moderation analysis using the PROCESS macro for SPSS and a 5000-resamples bootstrapping technique. Results revealed that, among the five goal contents, the one related to skills development emerged as the only one with a likely differential predictive capacity on the intention to be physically active, with this relationship being stronger in girls compared to boys. The evidence from this study suggests that encouraging goals related to skills development may increase the intention toward leisuretime exercise in adolescent population.
... Existing theories commonly used in understanding participation motivation in physical activity do not include motives such as spirituality, mind-body integration, and inner transformation (Ronkainen & Nesti, 2019). Such motives are salient in yoga and other forms of holistic movement practices, however (Cagas et al., 2020;Vergeer, 2018), representing intrinsic forms of motivations that could be emphasised to foster optimal engagement and other desirable outcomes (Sebire et al., 2009;Vansteenkiste et al., 2010). Previous work in exercise contexts suggests that participation motives are influenced by personal dispositions and life goals (Ingledew et al., 2009;Ingledew & Markland, 2008). ...
Yoga is a holistic movement practice offering physical exercise and opportunities for mind-body integration and spiritual growth. Therefore, participation motives in yoga may vary depending on whether participants perceive yoga as a physical exercise, a psycho-spiritual discipline, or both. This study aimed to (1) identify subgroups of yoga participants based on their perceptions of yoga and level of immersion in yoga’s psycho-spiritual principles and (2) determine the motives that best differentiate the identified subgroups. A total of 546 yoga participants, 18–73 years old (M=40.00, SD=11.85), completed an online survey, which included sections measuring perceptions of yoga, participation motives, yoga immersion, and practice characteristics. Using a two-step cluster analysis, three subgroups of yoga participants were identified: (1) Exercisers, (2) Yogis, and (3) Postural Yogis. MANCOVA indicated significant differences in motives across yoga participant subgroups. Follow-up discriminant function analyses revealed that spirituality, mind-body integration, and coping/stress management contributed the most in distinguishing the three participant subgroups. Results showed that identifiable subgroups exist among yoga participants, with varying motives for participation. Yoga-related studies and promotional messages need to consider how yoga is understood by the intended participants and highlight the motives that match the target subgroups to encourage participation.
... ,44 Scores on the original PNSE scale have demonstrated good structural validity and internal reliability,42,45 which have been mirrored in a study employing a similar adaptation.46 ...
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Objective This manuscript reports on the protocol for a three-arm randomized controlled trial aiming to assess the effect a self-determination theory-based eHealth intervention on physical activity among insufficiently active women who are overweight or obese. Methods The intervention-of-interest provided (A) six weekly behavioural support emails, (B) a wearable activity tracker, and (C) a copy and verbal explanation of the Canadian physical activity guidelines, and was compared to an intervention that provided (B + C) and another that provided (C). Women from a local community were invited to participate in this study. Participants were recruited between September 2018 and March 2019. Data were collected using self-report and direct measures three times: at baseline (week 0), post-intervention (week 7), and at follow-up (week 21). The primary outcome was self-reported total metabolic equivalent minutes of physical activity per week (MET-m/week); exploratory outcomes included number of days of strength training per week, self-determination theory constructs (i.e. motivational regulations, basic psychological needs satisfaction and thwarting), and well-being indicators (i.e. affect, vitality, depression). Conclusion Findings will provide insight into which combination of intervention components may be more effective at promoting physical activity among insufficiently active women who are overweight or obese, and thus inform the design of future interventions aiming to promote physical activity.
... Studies on gender regarding physical activity involvement is important for programmes design and implementation through correct education and training programmes aimed at attracting male and female participation (Roxas & Stoneback, 2004). According to Sebire et al. (2009) report indicates that females than males have significant greater exercise anxiety, and also lower self-worth and exercising significantly less. It is reported that females are motivated through extrinsic motives such as weight management and appearance, while there males counterpart are motivated by intrinsic motives such as competition and social management (Koivula, 1999). ...
... The reliability of the composite scale was .86. In line with the SDT literature (Deci & Ryan, 2000) and previous work (Duriez et al., 2013;Sebire et al., 2009), an overall extrinsic relative to intrinsic goal pursuits score was calculated by subtracting the averaged intrinsic scores from the averaged extrinsic scores. (Mean = -1.45; ...
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The aim of the present study is to examine whether a leader’s extrinsic relative to intrinsic goal orientation influences subordinates’ subjective career success through leader-member exchanges and to describe the moderating effect of subordinates’ gender. Drawing on goal content theory and leader-member exchange theory, we propose that a leader’s relatively extrinsic goal orientation is negatively related to subordinates’ subjective career success through leader-member exchanges. We conducted a field survey study (N = 216; employees and their immediate supervisors from China) to test our model, and the results suggest that (1) leaders with relatively extrinsic goal orientations are negatively related to subordinates’ subjective career success; (2) leader-member exchanges mediate the negative relationship between a leader’s relatively extrinsic goal orientation and employees’ subjective career success; and (3) subordinates’ gender moderates the indirect effect, whereby a leader’s relatively extrinsic goal orientation leads to lower levels of leader-member exchange for females than for males, leading to a lower level of subordinates’ subjective career success. This study contributes to the goal content and leader-member exchange literature.
... Although SDT's importance in the study of well-being is demonstrated by far-reaching evidence obtained through extensive research in a number of areas and life domains (Deci and Ryan 2008), including physical exercise (Gunnell et al. 2014;Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste 2009), these studies do not encompass recreational dance. Some evidence shows that dance is a highly intrinsically motivated activity (Kreutz 2008), but only two studies refer to SDT in the analysis of dancers' motivations. ...
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Mental health issues are increasingly prevalent worldwide, emphasizing the need to research antecedents and consequences of well-being. Prior research shows that within organizations, higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB) promote productivity performance. Building on this research, the authors hypothesize that recreational dance positively influences productivity through higher SWB. Survey data from Brazil, Italy, and the United Kingdom reveal that recreational dancers are more productive than non-dancers due to their higher intrinsic motivation and SWB. Dancing has an additional direct effect on productivity, beyond the mediating role of SWB. The results indicate well-being and productivity improvements in all three countries, although they show a moderating effect such that the relationship between recreational dance and SWB is stronger when social norms are perceived to be looser. This study indicates potentially far-reaching benefits that could be achieved by including recreational dance in corporate well-being programs. International dance organizations could market dance classes as a pathway to increase productivity at work and explore synergies with public health marketing to promote the benefits of recreational dance in joint international campaigns.
... It is important to note that although extrinsic goals may be attractive, they only confer a transient state of satisfaction and in the long run interfere with genuine satisfaction of needs and well-being [25]. High investment in extrinsic goals is associated with a range of intrapersonal consequences, such as anxiety, physical symptoms and drug use, but also with interpersonal, intrinsically oriented people proving higher levels of Machiavellianism, being competitive rather than collaborative and manifesting more aggressive and discriminatory attitudes toward others [26]. ...
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The aim of this study was to examine the relationships among satisfaction of basic psychological needs, goal orientations and sportsmanship. The mediating role of goal orientation in this relationship was tested. The participants were 168 students enrolled at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports in Craiova, aged between 18 and 30 years old, M = 21.52, SD = 2.20, and the data were collected between March and May 2020. The instruments applied were Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction Scale to measure satisfaction of basic psychological needs, Multidimensional Sportspersonship Orientation Scale to measure sportsmanship, and Ego and Task Orientation Questionnaire to measure goal orientation. The obtained results showed that the satisfaction of basic psychological needs is associated with sportsmanship. Mediation analyses have shown that task orientation mediates the relationship between the need for autonomy and the need for competence satisfaction and four of the dimensions of sportsmanship and the relationship between the need for relatedness satisfaction and three of sportsmanship dimensions: respect for social conventions, respect for rules and officials, and respect for full commitment.
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امروزه فواید روانشناختی مرتبط با شرکت در فعالیتهاي بدنی منظم شامل بهبود عمومی عزتنفس، خلق و خوي و بهزیستی روانشناختی کودکان و نوجوانان به خوبی آشکار شده است. هدف از پژوهش حاضر، بررسی ارتباط بین رضایتمندي و ناکامی از نیازهاي روانشناختی اساسی، انگیزش خودمختار و پیامدهاي خلقی(خلق مثبت و منفی) و تمایلات رفتاري (کاهش ارزشمندي ورزش، میل به ادامه ورزش) در محیط آموزشی ورزش نوجوانان، بر اساس نظریۀ نیازهاي روانشناختی اساسی بود. پژوهش از نوع توصیفی-همبستگی می باشد. شرکت کنندگان شامل 500 نوجوانان (250 پسر و 250 دختر) با دامنه سنی 17-12 سال، شرکتکننده در کلاسهاي آموزشی ورزشی تابستانی در شهر تبریز بودند که به صورت نمونهگیري خوشهاي انتخاب شدند و پرسشنامه هاي رضایتمندي و ناکامی از نیازهاي روانشناختی اساسی، تنظیمهاي رفتاري در ورزش، خلق مثبت و منفی، تحلیل رفتگی ورزشی و میل به ادامۀ ورزش را تکمیل کردند. نتایج ضریب همبستگی پیرسون و تحلیل مسیر نشانداد رضایتمندي از نیازها به طور مثبت و ناکامی از نیازها به طور منفی، انگیزش خودمختاري را پیش بینی میکنند و انگیزش خودمختاري نیز به نوبۀ خود، به طور مثبت پیشبین کنندة پیامدهاي مثبت (خلق مثبت و میل به ادامۀ ورزش) و به طور منفی پیشبین کنندة پیامدهاي منفی (خلق منفی و کاهش ارزشمندي ورزش) می باشد. علاوه بر این، ناکامی از نیازها پیشبین کنندة قويتر پیامدهاي منفی و رضایتمندي از نیازها پیشبین کنندة قويتر پیامدهاي مثبت میباشد. یافتهها با تأیید کاربرد نظریۀ نیازهاي روانشناختی در محیط آموزشی ورزش نوجوانان، بیانگر آن است که نیازهاي روانشناختی اساسی متغیرهاي تأثیرگذار در انگیزش، حالات خلقی و تمایلات رفتاري نوجوانان در محیط آموزشی ورزش میباشد.
Globally, obesity persists at epidemic rates. Men are underrepresented within behavior‐based obesity prevention research. As men prefer individualized, self‐guided interventions, electronic delivery of treatment modalities has potential to reach this population. The purpose of this study was to systematically review primary, secondary, or tertiary behavioral obesity prevention interventions that used controlled designs; targeted men; and incorporated at least one electronically delivered treatment modality explicitly designed to elicit an intervention effect. Literature searches were delimited to peer‐reviewed articles; published between 2000 and 2021; in the English language; and indexed in PsycINFO, CINHAL, MEDLINE, CENTRAL, and WOS electronic databases. Interventions satisfying inclusion criteria were critiqued for methodological quality using the Jadad Scale (0 = lowest quality; 10 = highest quality). Eleven studies satisfied the inclusion criteria (n = 1748; total participants) with five reporting group‐by‐time intervention effects on the primary variable targeted. Jadad scale quality assessment scores ranged from 5.00 to 9.00 with a mean of 7.72. Majority of the interventions applied a randomized control trial design (n = 10). Most interventions were theory based, with eight rooted in social cognitive theory. Behavior change strategies included self‐monitoring (n = 10), personalized feedback (n = 8), health counseling (n = 8), and goal setting (n = 9). Community‐level theories have the potential to guide future obesity prevention interventions targeting men.
Background Increasing physical activity among girls is a public health priority. Peers play a central role in influencing adolescent behaviour. Peer-led interventions may increase physical activity in adolescent girls, and a feasibility trial had shown that PLAN-A (Peer-led physical Activity iNtervention for Adolescent girls) had evidence of promise to increase physical activity in adolescent girls. Objective The objective was to test whether or not PLAN-A can increase adolescent girls’ physical activity, relative to usual practice, and be cost-effective. Design This was a two-arm, cluster-randomised controlled trial, including an economic evaluation and a process evaluation. Participants State-funded secondary schools in the UK with girls in Year 9 (aged 13–14 years) participated in the trial. All Year 9 girls in participating schools were eligible. Randomisation Schools were the unit of allocation. They were randomised by an independent statistician, who was blinded to school identities, to the control or intervention arm, stratified by region and the England Index of Multiple Deprivation score. Intervention The intervention comprised peer nomination (i.e. identification of influential girls), train the trainers (i.e. training the instructors who delivered the intervention), peer supporter training (i.e. training the peer-nominated girls in techniques and strategies underpinned by motivational theory to support peer physical activity increases) and a 10-week diffusion period. Outcomes The primary outcome was accelerometer-assessed mean weekday minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity among Year 9 girls. The follow-up measures were conducted 5–6 months after the 10-week intervention, when the girls were in Year 10 (which was also 12 months after the baseline measures). Analysis used a multivariable, mixed-effects, linear regression model on an intention-to-treat basis. Secondary outcomes included weekend moderate to vigorous physical activity, and weekday and weekend sedentary time. Intervention delivery costs were calculated for the economic evaluation. Results A total of 33 schools were approached; 20 schools and 1558 pupils consented. Pupils in the intervention arm had higher Index of Multiple Deprivation scores than pupils in the control arm. The numbers randomised were as follows: 10 schools ( n = 758 pupils) were randomised to the intervention arm and 10 schools ( n = 800 pupils) were randomised to the control arm. For analysis, a total of 1219 pupils provided valid weekday accelerometer data at both time points (intervention, n = 602; control, n = 617). The mean weekday moderate to vigorous physical activity was similar between groups at follow-up. The central estimate of time spent engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity was 2.84 minutes lower in the intervention arm than in the control arm, after adjustment for baseline mean weekday moderate to vigorous physical activity, the number of valid days of data and the stratification variables; however, this difference was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval –5.94 to 0.25; p = 0.071). There were no between-arm differences in the secondary outcomes. The intervention costs ranged from £20.85 to £48.86 per pupil, with an average cost of £31.16. Harms None. Limitations The trial was limited to south-west England. Conclusions There was no evidence that PLAN-A increased physical activity in Year 9 girls compared with usual practice and, consequently, it was not cost-effective. Future work Future work should evaluate the utility of whole-school approaches to promote physical activity in schools. Trial registration This trial is registered as ISRCTN14539759. Funding This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme and will be published in full in Public Health Research ; Vol. 10, No. 6. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. This trial was designed and delivered in collaboration with the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration (BRTC), a United Kingdom Clinical Research Commission (UKCRC)-registered Clinical Trials Unit that, as part of the Bristol Trials Centre, is in receipt of NIHR Clinical Trials Unit support funding. The sponsor of this trial was University of Bristol, Research and Enterprise Development The costs of delivering the intervention were funded by Sport England.
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The most commonly used method to test an indirect effect is to divide the estimate of the indirect effect by its standard error and compare the resulting z statistic with a critical value from the standard normal distribution. Confidence limits for the indirect effect are also typically based on critical values from the standard normal distribution. This article uses a simulation study to demonstrate that confidence limits are imbalanced because the distribution of the indirect effect is normal only in special cases. Two alternatives for improving the performance of confidence limits for the indirect effect are evaluated: (a) a method based on the distribution of the product of two normal random variables, and (b) resampling methods. In Study 1, confidence limits based on the distribution of the product are more accurate than methods based on an assumed normal distribution but confidence limits are still imbalanced. Study 2 demonstrates that more accurate confidence limits are obtained using resampling methods, with the bias-corrected bootstrap the best method overall.
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The purpose of this study was to provide initial construct validity evidence for scores derived from the Psychological Need Satisfaction in Exercise (PNSE) scale, a multidimensional instrument designed to measure perceived psychological need satisfaction in line with Deci and Ryanʼs (1985, 2002) self-determination theory (SDT). Participants in two studies (n1 = 426; n2 = 581) completed the PNSE along with proxy measures of need satisfaction. The results of an exploratory factor analysis in Study 1 supported the retention of a 3-factor measurement model underpinning PNSE responses. Confi rmatory factor analysis conducted in Study 2 corroborated the tenability of the 3-factor measurement model in males and females and indicated partial support for invariance of PNSE scores across gender. Additionally, the scores on both the PNSE-Competence and PNSE-Relatedness subscales displayed a pattern of convergence with proxy measures. High internal consistency estimates (Cronbach α > 0.90) were observed for all PNSE subscale scores, and participants in both studies reported high levels of need satisfaction in exercise contexts. Overall, the fi ndings suggest that the PNSE displays a number of psychometric characteristics that render the instrument useful for examining psychological need satisfaction in exercise contexts.
Two prospective studies tested the hypothesis that intrinsic motives for physical activities facilitate long-term adherence. In Study 1, participants in two physical activity classes, Tae Kwon Do and Aerobics (N = 40), were compared in their motives for participating using the Motivation for Physical Activity Measure (MPAM; Frederick & Ryan, 1993). Participation motives were also used to predict adherence. Results showed that Tae Kwon Do participants were higher in enjoyment and competence motives and lower in body-related motives than those in aerobics. They also showed better adherence. Further analyses revealed that group differences in adherence were mediated by enjoyment motives. Body-focused motives were unrelated to adherence. In Study 2, subjects joining a nautilus center (N-155) rated their initial motives on a revised Motivation for Physical Activity Measure (MPAM-R). They also rated workout length, challenge, and enjoyment after each exercise session. Results revealed that adherence was associated with motives focused on enjoyment, competence, and social interaction, but not with motives focused on fitness or appearance. Post-workout ratings of enjoyment also predicted adherence. Discussion focuses on the importance of intrinsic motivation for exercise adherence.