Do people’s goals for mass participation sporting events matter? A self-determination theory perspective

Sarah J Coleman, Simon J Sebire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Non-elite mass participation sports events (MPSEs) may hold potential as a physical activity promotion tool. Research into why
people participate in these events and what goals they are pursuing is lacking. Grounded in self-determination theory, this study examined the
associations between MPSE participants’ goals, event experiences and physical activity.

A prospective cohort study was conducted; pre-event, participants reported their goals for the event. Four weeks post-event,
participants reported their motivation for exercise, perceptions of their event achievement and moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity
(MVPA). Bivariate correlations and path analysis were performed on data from 114 adults.

Intrinsic goals (e.g. health, skill and social affiliation) for the event were positively associated with perceptions of event achievement,
whereas extrinsic goals (e.g. appearance or social recognition) were not. Event achievement was positively associated with post-event
autonomous motivation, which in turn was positively associated with MVPA.

Pursuing intrinsic but not extrinsic goals for MPSEs is associated with greater perceptions of event achievement, which in turn is
associated with post-event autonomous motivation and MVPA.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health Medicine
Early online date27 Sept 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sept 2016


  • physical activity
  • sports participation
  • events


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