Physical activity, well-being and the basic psychological needs in cardiac rehabilitation graduates: A path analysis


Both physical activity and well-being have been shown to be related to cardiovascular disease; however, the relationship between these variables is not well understood in this population. According to Ryan, Huta and Deci's (2008) empirical model, eudaimonic living (as a motive) fosters well-being through the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs. The purpose of this study was to first test the empirical model proposed by Ryan, Huta & Deci (2008) in cardiac rehabilitation graduates and second to examine if physical activity is best served as a predictor or an outcome of the model. Participants (N=52, Mage = 62.9 [SD =14.85]; 79% male) wore an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer for 9 days to objectively assess moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Participants completed questionnaires on eudaimonic and hedonic motives, eudaimonic and hedonic well-being, and the basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness and competence. Separate path analyses in MPlus were conducted to examine (a) the empirical eudaimonic model and physical activity as a (b) predictor and (c) outcome of the model. The empirical eudaimonic model was supported as both motives strongly predicted the basic psychological needs (β>.64) and the basic psychological needs were strongly related with eudaimonic well-being (β=.63). A small to moderate relationship was found with physical activity as a predictor of eudaimonic motives (β=.26) and as an outcome of eudaimonic well-being (β=.23). The empirical eudaimonic model appears to hold in a cardiac sample but the role of physical activity remains unclear. A longitudinal study testing alternative models would provide additional insight for future physical activity and well-being interventions.

Acknowledgments: CS was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This research was funded by the Fonds de recherche du Quebec - Santé (FRQS).