Predicting Objectively Assessed Physical Activity From the Content and Regulation of Exercise Goals: Evidence for a Mediational Model

Centre for Exercise, Nutrition & Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K.
Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.59). 04/2011; 33(2):175-97.
Source: PubMed


Grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), the purpose of this work was to examine effects of the content and motivation of adults' exercise goals on objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). After reporting the content and motivation of their exercise goals, 101 adult participants (Mage = 38.79 years; SD = 11.5) wore an ActiGraph (GT1M) accelerometer for seven days. Accelerometer data were analyzed to provide estimates of engagement in MVPA and bouts of physical activity. Goal content did not directly predict behavioral engagement; however, mediation analysis revealed that goal content predicted behavior via autonomous exercise motivation. Specifically, intrinsic versus extrinsic goals for exercise had a positive indirect effect on average daily MVPA, average daily MVPA accumulated in 10-min bouts and the number of days on which participants performed 30 or more minutes of MVPA through autonomous motivation. These results support a motivational sequence in which intrinsic versus extrinsic exercise goals influence physical activity behavior because such goals are associated with more autonomous forms of exercise motivation.

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Available from: Maarten Vansteenkiste
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    • "Interventions of this type, hereafter referred to as 'traditional interventions', make use of theoretical constructs such as stages of change, modeling, attitude and self-efficacy (Davies et al., 2012). Recent research on PA promotion, however, shows another theoretical construct to be of major importance: autonomous motivation (Bagoien et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2011; Sweet et al., 2009; Sebire et al., 2011). Substantial evidence suggests that having higher autonomous motivation makes an individual more likely to undertake PA regularly and persist with a PA routine (Teixeira et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to compare a web-based computer tailored physical activity intervention based on self-determination theory and motivational interviewing (I Move) to a traditional web-based computer tailored physical activity intervention (Active Plus) with regard to their basic psychological need supporting capabilities. We also aimed to assess the extent to whether self-determination constructs played a stronger mediating role in the effects of I Move than in the effects of Active Plus. A randomized controlled trial was conducted among 3089 participants (age 44.9±12.9, 69.1% women), comparing 1) I Move, 2) Active Plus, and 3) a waiting list control condition. Physical activity behavior (measured at baseline, and at six months after baseline), potential mediators (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, perceived competence and perceived choice, measured at baseline, and at three months after baseline) and basic psychological need support (measured six weeks and six months after baseline) were assessed through self-report, using web-based questionnaires. I Move was found to be more effective in supporting participants' basic psychological needs (sessions 1 and 2; p=.001; sessions 3 and 4; p=.004). The results of the mediation analyses show that the effects of both interventions were (equally) mediated by perceived competence, but not by intrinsic motivation, identified regulation or perceived choice.
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    • "For example, the intrinsic goal of developing skill or the extrinsic goal of enhancing the way you look have a longer time scale component (i.e. it takes time to develop the skill or to improve appearance), compared to the present oriented behavioral regulations (i.e. because the activity is fun). Therefore, the why of PA (i.e. the goals) is more distally related to PA behavior but this relation is transmitted through the more proximal variable of behavioral regulations (Sebire et al, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Overall, 544 children (mean age ± standard deviation = 14.2 ± .94 years) completed self-report measures of physical activity goal content, behavioral regulations, and physical activity behavior. Body mass index was determined from height and mass. The indirect effect of intrinsic goal content on physical activity was statistically significant via autonomous (b = 162.27; 95% confidence interval [89.73, 244.70]), but not controlled motivation (b = 5.30; 95% confidence interval [-39.05, 45.16]). The indirect effect of extrinsic goal content on physical activity was statistically significant via autonomous (b = 106.25; 95% confidence interval [63.74, 159.13]) but not controlled motivation (b = 17.28; 95% confidence interval [-31.76, 70.21]). Weight status did not alter these findings.
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    • "Consequently, existing interventions mostly focus on theoretical constructs such as stages of change, modeling, attitude and self-efficacy. Current research on PA uptake and maintenance, however, increasingly shows the importance of another theoretical construct: autonomous motivation [18-21]. More specifically, increasing evidence shows that greater autonomous motivation predicts higher PA frequency and maintenance [22]. "
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