Title page for ETD etd-11062006-143723

Type of Document Dissertation
Author DeLong, Lori Lynn
Author's Email Address ldelong@lacollege.edu
URN etd-11062006-143723
Title College Students' Motivation for Physical Activity
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Kinesiology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Melinda Solmon Committee Chair
Amelia Lee Committee Member
Dennis Landin Committee Member
Maria Kosma Committee Member
Frank Gresham Dean's Representative
  • physical activity
  • transtheoretical model
  • self-determination theory
  • stage of change
  • motivation
Date of Defense 2006-10-18
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to examine college students' motivations to be physically active by merging the perspectives of self-determination theory and the transtheoretical model. The secondary purpose was to examine the effects of a required physical activity course on college students' levels of physical activity. The premise is that both the theory and model can be used to help predict physical activity outcomes. Participants were 277 male and female students at a small private college. Motivation, self-determination, stage of change, self-efficacy, decisional balance, and leisure time activity levels were assessed using an online survey. Results revealed that activity levels did vary across stages of change and that the participants became more self-determined as they moved across the stages of change. Intrinsic motives were predictors of self-determination and motives were found to differ across the stages of change. Decisional balance scores were higher in the later stages of change (maintenance, action, and preparation) while the self-efficacy scores were lower in the early stages (contemplation and precontemplation) than all other stages. No significant group differences were found between students who had or had not completed the physical activity course for RAI, decisional balance, and self-efficacy. However, group differences in motives revealed that interest/enjoyment, competence, and social motives were rated as more important by those who had taken the course than those who had not. There were no differences on self-reported levels of physical activity. Results suggest that currently used approaches in required courses may not be effective in increasing physical activity levels of college students. The incorporation of the transtheoretical model with self-determination theory provides a framework to investigate the motivational levels of college students and could be incorporated in attempts to improve the effectiveness of required courses designed to facilitate their pursuit of a lifetime of physical activity.
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