From Boring to Interesting: How to Use Autonomy and Intrinsic Motivation to Increase Exercise Behavior

Bac, Cheryl Lynn, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Wilson, Timothy, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Exercise is beneficial to our health; yet, many Americans do not meet the government's recommendations for exercise behavior (Shalala, 1994). The current studies attempted to increase intentions to exercise and actual exercise behavior using tasks that focused on autonomy, intrinsic motivation, and implementation intention strategies. The combination of an intrinsic (Salancik, 1974) and autonomous (Banting, Dimmock, & Grove, 2011) task was found to increase intentions to exercise (Study 2B), reported exercise effort (Study 3), reported exercise behavior (Study 3), and actual exercise behavior (at least for some participants, Study 3). Adding implementation intentions to these tasks did not provide a significant additional benefit (Study 3). These results suggest that targeting people's intrinsic and autonomous motivations can increase exercise.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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