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Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality

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motivation, exercise, body esteem, telic dominance




Active living is imperative to maintaining good health, and becoming involved in regular exercise at a young age is fundamental. The purpose of this study was to examine motivation for exercise among university students in relation to metamotivational dominance and body esteem. Participants in this study were 106 undergraduate students who were recruited from their psychology departmental participant pool and from the campus exercise facility at a medium sized Canadian university. Participants completed an inventory that included the Motivational Style Profile, Big Five Inventory-10, Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire, and the Body Weight and Image Self-Esteem Evaluation Questionnaire to assess personality, exercise motivation, and body esteem. High-frequency exercisers were found to be more paratelic dominant than low-frequency exercisers, and scored significantly higher on intrinsic, identified, and introjected regulation, indicating that they exercised for enjoyment, valued exercise outcomes, and wanted to avoid negative emotions associated with not exercising. Among high frequency exercisers, positive body esteem was associated with high intrinsic and low extrinsic motivation for exercise, paratelic dominance, negativism dominance, and low neuroticism. For low-frequency exercisers, significant correlates of positive body esteem were autic mastery dominance, low BMI, low neuroticism, and lower levels of extrinsic and introjected motivation. Findings are discussed in terms of healthy and unhealthy motivations for exercise, and recommendations are made for tailoring health promotion strategies to metamotivational dominance.


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