Problem-solving differences in exercise behaviour motivation in cardiac rehabilitation participants


Despite the positive outcomes of regular physical activity achieved in structured cardiac rehabilitation (CR), adherence to self-managed exercise post-CR is a problem. The Model of Social Problem-Solving (MSPS) suggests that individual differences in problem-solving abilities are linked to outcomes when individuals are challenged. Types of motivation are also linked to regulation of behaviour. Self-Determination Theory suggests the most positive outcomes are achieved through self-determined motivation (Vallerand et al., 2008). Self-determined regulation is related to increased persistence and likelihood to maintain behaviour (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Problem-solving is related to CR patients' exercise, but has not been examined relative to types of motivation. We compared CR participants more and less effective in problem-solving relative to (1) autonomous and (2) controlled motivation for regular exercise and (3) autonomy for CR exercise participation. Novice CR participants (N = 90; 66% male; Mage = 64.4 years) enrolled in a health region CR program completed measures of problem-solving effectiveness, autonomous and controlled motivation, autonomy, and persistence. MANOVA revealed a between-groups effect, Wilk's lambda = .74, p < .001, eta2 = .26. Follow-up ANOVAs revealed more effective problem-solvers had significantly higher autonomous motivation and autonomy, and lower controlled motivation (p's < .05, effect sizes = .06 to .19). Autonomous motivation and autonomy significantly predicted post-CR persistence with exercise (p's ≤ .05). Findings expand the emerging literature on problem-solving in CR patients' exercise and support MSPS-based contentions.

Acknowledgments: Royal University Hospital Foundation Research Fund; SSHRC Canada Research Chair Training Funds