Changes in need satisfaction and motivation orientation as predictors of psychological and behavioural outcomes in exercise referral

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Employing Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) as a theoretical framework, this study examined psychological need satisfaction and motivational regulations as predictors of psychological and behavioural outcomes in exercise referral (ER). ER patients (N = 293; mean age 54.49) completed the measures of motivational regulations, psychological need satisfaction, health-related quality of life, life satisfaction, anxiety, depression and physical activity at entry, exit and 6 months following the end of a supervised exercise programme. Change in (Delta) intrinsic motivation during the scheme significantly predicted adherence and Delta habitual physical activity. Delta psychological need satisfaction from entry to exit significantly predicted Delta habitual physical activity from exit to 6-month follow-up. Delta psychological need satisfaction significantly predicted Delta motivational regulation and Delta psychological outcomes. Contrary to expectations, Delta self-determined regulation did not significantly predict Delta psychological outcomes during the structured part of the scheme, however, it did significantly predict Delta in psychological outcomes from exit to 6-month follow-up. These findings expand on cross-sectional research to demonstrate that psychological need satisfaction during supervised ER longitudinally predicts motivational regulation and psychological outcomes up to 6 months after a structured programme.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1539
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • adherence, self-determination, quality of life, physical activity, health