Academic journal article College Student Journal

An Examination of Motivational Regulations, Dispositional Flow and Social Physique Anxiety among College Students for Exercise: A Self-Determination Theory Approach

Academic journal article College Student Journal

An Examination of Motivational Regulations, Dispositional Flow and Social Physique Anxiety among College Students for Exercise: A Self-Determination Theory Approach

Article excerpt

Based on self-determination theory (SDT), the main goal of this study is to analyze dispositional flow and social physique anxiety (SPA) that could be predicted by gender, BMI and motivational regulations and to examine motivational regulations, dispositional flow and SPA of college students in terms of stage of change for exercise. Participants (n=612) completed questionnaires measuring exercise motivation, exercise stages of change, dispositional flow and SPA. Multiple regression analyses revealed that gender, intrinsic and introjected regulation were positive predictors, BMI and external regulation were negative predictors of the flow experience. On the other hand, BMI and external regulation were positive predictors and gender was negative predictor of SPA. Participants at early stages (at preparation and action) have less intrinsic and introjected regulation and more amotivation scores than those at maintenance stage of change for exercise. Additionally, exercisers at maintenance stage displayed significantly less SPA and showed greater tendency to experience flow than preparation and action stages. The results of this study further the understanding of the motivational process and somehow showed that gender and BMI explain SPA and dispositional flow in college students within an exercise context. The other significant results of this piece is to enable the importance of promoting intrinsic motivation, introjected regulation and flow experience as well as reducing perceiving SPA of exercisers in order to foster their exercise behaviours.

Key Words: Exercise Motivation, Flow State, Social Physique Anxiety, Self-Determination Theory

Introduction

Over the past several decades, there has been a preponderance of researches outlining the effects of exercise and physical activity on phychological and physical health (Miles, 2007; Duncan, Hall, Wilson, & Jenny, 2010) besides quality of life and well-being (Chrysohoou et. al., 2014). In spide of the well-known advantages associated with regular exercise, a number of people are physically inactive (Cavill, Kahlmeier, & Racioppi, 2006; Lowther, Mutrie, & Scott, 2007; Gilmour, 2007).

There are a number of reasons for this global problem. One of the key methods of combating the increasing regular physical activity is to better understand of the determinants of exercise behavior. The reason for this minimal engagement for exercise is that many people lack sufficient motivation. In studies addressing motivational questions within exercise settings, investigators have increasingly used Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to understand physical activity behaviors (Ryan & Deci, 2008; Wilson, Mack, & Grattan, 2008). SDT proposes that motivation is multidimensional, and resides along a continuum of self-determination ranging from amotivation (lack of motivation), to extrinsic motivation (controlled motivation), to intrinsic motivation (autonomous motivation). Amotivation represents the lack of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and is characterized by the lack of value for an activity, or the belief that the activity will not result in desired outcomes (Thogersen-Ntoumani & Ntoumanis, 2006). Extrinsic motivation can be divided into four particular regulations that diversify in their level of self-determination: external, introjected, identified and integrated. External regulation is the lowest form of extrinsic motivation. At this level, individuals participate in an exercise merely to obtain a desired outcome, such as recognition, or to avoid a negative consequence, like punishment. Introjected regulation, meaning that people engage in an activity to pursue contingent self-worth and pride, or to avoid feelings of self-guilt or shame, and not for any form of obligation. Identified regulation represents a relatively self-determined regulation because action is undertaken because of its value, importance or usefulness to the individual. …

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