Multidimensional motivation for exercise: A latent profile and transition analysis

Lydia Emm-Collison, Simon J Sebire, Ruth Salway, Janice Thompson, Russell Jago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To: a) identify motivational profiles for exercise, using Self-Determination Theory as a theoretical framework, among a sample of parents of UK primary school children; b) explore the movement between motivational profiles over a five year period; and c) examine differences across these profiles in terms of gender, physical activity and BMI. Design: Data were from the B-Proact1v cohort. Methods: 2555 parents of British primary school children participated across three phases when the child was aged 5–6, 8–9, and 10–11. Parents completed a multidimensional measure of motivation for exercise and wore an ActiGraph GT3X + accelerometer for five days in each phase. Latent profile and transition analyses were conducted using a three-step approach in MPlus. Results: Six profiles were identified, comprising different combinations of motivation types. Between each timepoint, moving between profiles was more likely than remaining in the same one. People with a more autonomous profile at a previous timepoint were unlikely to move to more controlled or amotivated profiles. At all three timepoints, more autonomous profiles were associated with higher levels of MVPA and lower BMI. Conclusions: The results show that people's motivation for exercise can be described in coherent and consistent profiles which are made up of multiple and simultaneous types of motivation. More autonomous motivation profiles were more enduring over time, indicating that promoting more autonomous motivational profiles may be central to facilitating longer-term physical activity engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101619
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Early online date9 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • motivation
  • physical activity
  • latent profile
  • latent transition
  • accelerometer


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