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Older Adults' Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Toward Physical Activity

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Objectives : To examine how motives discriminate 3 physical activity levels of inactive, active, and sustained maintainers.

Methods : Six hundred forty-five adults (M age 63.8) completed stage-of-change and Exercise Motivations Inventory (EMI-2) scales. Exploratory factor analysis established psychometric properties of the EMI-2 suitable for older adults.

Results : Six factors emerged in the EMI-2: health and fitness, social/emotional benefits, weight management, stress management, enjoyment, and appearance. Enjoyment contributed most to differentiating activity levels. Moderators of age and gender were delineated.

Conclusions : Intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation distinguish older adults' activity levels.

Keywords: aging; intrinsic motivation; physical activity; self-determination

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Assistant Professor of Psychology, School of Arts & Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Boston, MA.

Publication date: November 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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