Self-determination, stage of readiness to change for exercise, and frequency of physical activity in young people

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Grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) and the transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983), the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between exercise regulations varying in self-determination with stage of readiness to change for exercise and physical activity patterns in university students. A cross-sectional survey design was used. The sample consisted of 409 (158 men, 251 women) university undergraduates aged 18-30 years. Participants completed the Behavioural Regulations in Exercise Questionnaire-2, the visual analogue stage of change for exercise ladder, and a physical activity questionnaire. Linear discriminant function analyses revealed that men and women at the early stages were less self-determined in the regulation of their exercise behaviour than those at the later stages of change. Additionally, men and women who were more self-determined reported being more physically active over the previous 3 months. These results suggest that self-determination may have an important role to play in the adoption and maintenance of health-promoting behaviours in young adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • self-determination
  • young adults
  • stage of change
  • perceived autonomy support
  • intrinsic motivation
  • behavioral regulations
  • psychological needs
  • integrative model
  • sport
  • motivaiton
  • trial
  • work
  • internalization
  • intervention


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