Comparing motivational differences between competitive and recreational weight trainers using Organismic Integration Theory: A replication and extension study


Objective: Grounded in Organismic Integration Theory (OIT; Deci & Ryan, 2002), the purpose of this study was to examine differences in motives for participation behaviour reported by competitive (CWT) and recreational (RWT) weight trainers. Methods: CWT (n = 177; Mage = 30.86 years; SDage = 11.35 years) and RWT (n = 196; Mage = 21.97 years; SDage = 6.05 years) provided data using a cross-sectional, non-experimental design. Participants completed a multi-section questionnaire that included demographic items, habitual weight training behaviour items, and the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 plus items assessing integrated regulation. Results: The CWT reported more weight training sessions during a typical week (t(367) = 3.58, p < .01, 95%CI = 0.20 – 0.69; Cohen's d = 0.37) and more days of weight training over the past week (t(371) = 3.85, p < .01, 95%CI = 0.23 – 0.70; Cohen's d = 0.40) compared to the RWT. Multivariate differences were evident in the motives for weight training reported by CWT and RWT (F(5, 362) = 43.58, p < .01, Wilks' Lambda = 0.62, ?p2 = 0.38). Follow-up analyses indicated the CWT reported more identified, integrated, and intrinsic regulations for weight training compared to the RWT who reported greater levels of external regulation (?p2 = 0.09 to 0.34; all p's < .05). Discussion: Overall, the results of this study make it apparent that motivational differences within the OIT framework exist between competitive and recreational weight trainers that may be important for understanding participation behaviour in this context.