The importance of self-determined motivation towards physical activity in patients with schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Davy Vancampfort
  • Marc De Hert
  • Maarten Vansteenkiste
  • Amber De Herdt
  • Brendon Stubbs
  • Michel Probst

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Ghent University
  • King’s College London


There is a need for theoretically-based research on the motivational processes linked to the commencement and continuation of physical activity in patients with schizophrenia. Within the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) framework, we investigated the SDT tenets in these patients by examining the factor structure of the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 (BREQ-2) and by investigating associations between motivation and PA. The secondary aim was to study differences in motivation according to gender, educational level, treatment setting and disease stage. A total of 129 patients (44♀) with schizophrenia agreed to participate. Exploratory factor analysis showed sufficient convergence with the original factor for amotivation, external and introjected regulation, while identified and intrinsic regulations loaded on a single factor which we labeled “autonomous regulation”. Significant positive correlations were found between the total physical activity score and the subscales amotivation (r=−0.44, P<0.001), external regulation (r=−0.27, P<0.001), and autonomous regulation (r=0.57, P<0.001). Outpatients reported more external (P<0.05) and introjected (P<0.05) regulations than inpatients. Our results suggest that patients' level of self-determination may play an important role in the adoption and maintenance of health promoting behaviors in patients with schizophrenia


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-818
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Early online date24 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2013