Work Type



Fall 2020

Faculty Advisor

Danny McMillian, PT, DSc, OCS, CSCS




BACKGROUND: Physical Activity (PA) Guidelines recommend reducing sedentarism and describes correlations between adequate PA and improving health outcomes. The self-determination theory (SDT) was used to identify motivational factors crucial to a physically active lifestyle.

PURPOSE: Identify and analyze how motivational characteristics, fulfillment of psychological needs, and individual experiences/beliefs influence an individual’s motivation for PA.

METHODS: Participants (3 females, 2 males; age 36-55) were recruited using nominated sampling and public advertising. Current levels of moderate-to-high PA were determined by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and previous-sedentarism was self-reported as a minimum of 18 months. The SDT was the theoretical basis for determining fulfillment of psychological needs. The Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction and Frustration Scale-General and Motives for Physical Activities Measure Revised (MPAM-R) measured general psychological satisfaction-frustration and motivational factors, respectively. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and statements were coded to identify experiences and beliefs of the participants serving as a comparison to survey data.

RESULTS: Psychological satisfaction (autonomy p=0.043; competence p=0.042; relatedness p=0.041) was significant compared to psychological frustration. Averaged MPAM-R scores revealed fitness (6.88) as the highest motivational factor while social (4.52) the lowest. Interview coding frequency was ranked as competence (58) followed by social/relatedness (49), autonomy (47), interest (30), fitness (29), appearance (15), and expressions of psychological satisfaction (38) dominated statements of frustration (11).

CONCLUSION: Moderate-to-high PA was associated with greater life satisfaction than frustration across all three domains. Survey instruments and interviews supported this conclusion; additionally, overcoming sedentarism is highly driven by autonomous decisions to improve health and well-being.


University of Puget Sound