Examining simultaneous relationships between need satisfaction, behavioural regulations, and exercise behaviour across five exercise contexts

  • Anne-Marie Selzler Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta
  • Eric Mathieu Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta
  • Wendy Rodgers Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta

Abstract

Background: This study examined the simultaneous relationships between the psychological needs, behavioural regulations, and future exercise behaviour across five exercise contexts: yoga, crossfit, running, walking, and spin. Specifically, a model was tested with direct effects of the psychological needs and behavioural regulations on future exercise behaviour, direct effects of psychological needs on behavioural regulations, and indirect effects of the psychological needs on future exercise behaviour through the behavioural regulations. Method: Adult participants from yoga (n=116), crossfit (n=156), running (n=138), walking (n=92), and spin (n=133) completed the Psychological Need Satisfaction in Exercise Scale and the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-3 at baseline, and then self-reported exercise behaviour two weeks later. Relationships among constructs were examined with path analysis of the full sample and when grouped by exercise context using Mplus. Findings: The results supported the hypothesized path model. The full sample path analysis found direct effects of competence and relatedness to the behavioural regulations; direct effects of the behavioural regulations to exercise behaviour; and indirect effects of competence and relatedness to exercise behaviour through the behavioural regulations. The context specific path analysis indicated some differences in the pattern of direct effects. For example, in yoga and walking contexts relatedness had the strongest direct effects to autonomous forms of regulations, whereas in crossfit, running, and spinning contexts competence had the strongest direct effects. Discussion: The findings are consistent with theoretical tenets of self-determination theory, and highlight the importance of considering exercise context when examining the relationships among self-determination theory variables and behaviour.