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The Effect of Optimism, Basic Psychological Needs, and Motivation Type on Exercise Engagement
The current study is rooted in the foundation of self-determination theory (SDT) and expectancy-value models of motivation, and explores how optimism (i.e., dispositional and domain-specific) and basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence, and relatedness) predict motivation types (i.e., autonomous, controlled, and amotivation) and engagement in exercise in young adults at a large Midwestern university. Physical inactivity has been recognized in recent decades as one of the largest contributors to earlier disease onset and mortality (Mokdad et al., 2004). Psychologists have been identified as having a unique role in addressing this concern, both clinically, on integrated care teams, and academically, through the production of research. Previous research on self-determination theory and expectancy-value models of motivation has demonstrated utility for understanding health behaviors; however to date there has been little research integrating constructs of these theories to better understand their relationships with motivation type and exercise. The current study examines bivariate and multivariate relationships between these variables for 326 students at a large Midwestern university. Results of the analysis revealed that domain-specific optimism, competency, autonomy, and relatedness contributed to a predictive model of autonomous motivation; dispositional optimism and relatedness made significant contributions to the prediction of controlled motivation; dispositional optimism, domain-specific optimism, and autonomy made significant contributions to predicting amotivation; and autonomous motivation and optimism for exercise made significant contributions to the prediction of exercise engagement. Interestingly, in the current sample dispositional optimism was not found to be a significant predictor of autonomous motivation types nor exercise engagement. However, domain-specific optimism, that is optimism for the specific act of engaging in exercise, proved to be one of the best predictors of exercise engagement after autonomous motivation. Limitations, implications, and future research directions are discussed. With the current healthcare crisis, it is imperative that psychologists working in healthcare settings understand the psychosocial variables that contribute to motivation type and exercise engagement in order to be effective clinicians. The current study contributes to the field’s understanding of key variables of self-determination and expectancy-value models of motivation and their contribution to motivation type and exercise engagement.
Personality psychology|Clinical psychology|Behavioral psychology
Gassman, Shantel M, "The Effect of Optimism, Basic Psychological Needs, and Motivation Type on Exercise Engagement" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI22616096.