Personal motivation, body image, health behavior and stage of exercising

Erica Rose Checko, University of Rhode Island


Despite the well-documented links between regular physical activity and health in both the mental and physical domains, facilitation of exercise adherence is a major practical issue in health promotion. In today's society, many people are either sedentary or too infrequently active to accrue health benefits. Previous research suggests that intrinsic motivation plays a particularly salient role in the exercise behavior process and may be implicated in long-term maintenance. The primary goal of this study is to identify the motivational factors that contribute to regular exercise. A major focus will be on the potential relationship of motivational factors and body image satisfaction across the stages of change. ^ Undergraduate psychology students (N=591) at the University of Rhode Island and Florida Gulf Coast University completed an Internet survey. Measures included the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of health behavior change staging algorithms for exercise, smoking and diet, measures of self efficacy, the Exercise Motivation Scale (EMS) and the Physical Appearance State and Trait Anxiety Scale (PASTAS). ^ Analyses of variance (ANOVA) revealed that identified and integrated regulation as well as the sum of the intrinsic motivational factors (intrinsic motivation to learn, accomplish things and experience sensations) were highest in exercise maintenance [F(12, 1095.6)=3.151, p<.01; F(1,433)=10.49, p<.01; F(1,415)=15.1, p<.01]. An ANOVA also revealed a significant gender difference in body image anxiety [F(1,553)=22.92, p<.01]; 38.3% of the women while 17% of the men had moderate to high body image anxiety. ^ Results suggest that intrinsic motivational factors play a role in fostering body image satisfaction as well as helping individuals to maintain their exercise regime. Future interventions (at the individual and group level) should consider ways to foster intrinsic motivational factors for exercise among individuals in the earlier stages of change. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Health Sciences, Recreation|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Erica Rose Checko, "Personal motivation, body image, health behavior and stage of exercising" (2007). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3298366.