Exercisers' perceptions of their fitness instructor's interacting style, perceived competence, and autonomy as a function of self-determined regulation to exercise, enjoyment, affect, and exercise frequency.

Research paper by Rogelio R Puente, Mark H MH Anshel

Indexed on: 28 Apr '09Published on: 28 Apr '09Published in: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology


The primary purpose of the present investigation was to test the hypothesis, derived from Self-Determination Theory (SDT), that an individual's perceived competence and autonomy mediate the relationship between the exercisers' perception of their instructor's interaction style and the exercisers' motivation to exercise. A secondary purpose was to identify the affective and behavioral outcomes derived from self-determined regulation. It was hypothesized that SDT would significantly explain and predict exercise behavior. Participants consisted of 238 college students, 103 males and 135 females (M age = 20.4 years, SD = 2.16), who volunteered to participate in the study. They were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires measuring instructor's interacting style, self-regulation to exercise, perceived autonomy and competence, enjoyment, positive and negative affect, and exercise frequency. Using structural equation modeling with observed variables, the results showed that perceived competence and autonomy mediated the relationship between perceived instructor's interacting style and self-determined regulation. It was also found that self-determined regulation was significantly related to exercise enjoyment, positive affect, and exercise frequency. It was concluded that understanding the motivational factors and emotional and behavioral consequences of physical activity will partially explain an individual's motives to engage regularly in exercise.