What motivates Japanese adults to exercise? An application of Basic Needs Theory and Organismic Integration Theory


Objective: Grounded in Basic Needs Theory (BNT) and Organismic Integration Theory (OIT), the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between satisfying psychological needs when exercising with autonomous/controlled motives for exercise. Methods: Participants (nMale = 324; nFemale = 379) were Japanese adults who completed a survey containing instruments assessing competence, autonomy, and relatedness when exercising and motives for exercise participation within a cross-sectional, non-experimental design. Results: Bivariate correlations supported positive associations between satisfying each psychological need via exercise and revealed that adjacent motives spanning the OIT continuum were more positively correlated in comparison to distal motives. Multiple regression analyses by participant gender indicated that psychological need satisfaction via exercise predicted intrinsic regulation in men and women plus identified regulation the female subsample. Relatedness did not significantly (p > .05) contribute to the prediction of identified regulation in the male subsample. Limited support for the role of psychological need fulfillment was evident in the regression models concerning amotivation or controlling exercise motives. Conclusions: Overall, the results of this study make it apparent that BNT and OIT could be used to advance our understanding of the psychological mechanisms shaping motivation for exercise in Japanese adults.