Effects of Self-Efficacy, Body Mass, and Cardiorespiratory Fitness on Exercise Motives in Chinese College Students

Bo Shen, Chiren Xu
2008 Journal of Physical Activity and Health  
Researchers have studied exercise determinants primarily from cognitive and social psychology perspectives, which typically give minimal attention to the body as a physical and biological entity. With the belief that tapping into multi-dimensional variables would potentially help us better understand motivation in exercise, we designed this study to examine the influences of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness level on Chinese college students' leisure-time exercise motives.
more » ... e exercise motives. Methods: 208 college students completed measures of self-efficacy and exercise motives during regular physical education classes. Their body mass and cardiorespiratory fitness level data were derived from the latest annual physical training test. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness on exercise motives. Results: Cardiorespiratory fitness level and self-efficacy in exercise significantly contributed to both psychological and interpersonal motives. Body mass was the only significant predictor for body related motives. However, analyses of health and fitness motives did not result in any significant predictors. Conclusion: Physical and psychological variables have both independent and specialized functions on exercise motives. Future motivational studies in exercise should pay greater attention to ecological approaches that account for physical, psychological, and social factors. Chinese College Students Physical activity is an important part of cardiovascular disease prevention and overall health promotion. 1 Researchers have established that regular physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality and disability from a variety of health conditions, especially cardiovascular disease. 1 Although the benefits of exercise are well documented, a global problem of physical inactivity exists. Particularly, college students' physical activity levels are of concern. In China, approximately 40% to 60% of college students do not participate in adequate amounts of physical activity to accrue health benefits. 2 It is discouraging that college students' physical activity behaviors have not improved while in higher education, as demonstrated by the reported decline in physical activity levels with each year in college. 2 Because motivation is a driving force for individuals' physical activity and exercise engagement, 3 it is essential to understand Chinese college students' motivation characteristics and other influential factors. An important distinction concerning motivation in exercise is between intrinsic and extrinsic motives for participation. 4 Intrinsically motivated behaviors are those performed for the satisfaction one gains from engaging in the activity itself. Exercising for reasons such as enjoyment, revitalization, and challenge reflect intrinsic motivation, as they are associated with positive emotions one has while experiencing exercise. By contrast, extrinsically motivated behaviors are those that are performed in order to obtain rewards or outcomes that are separate from the behavior itself. Based on the degree of relative autonomy, 5 extrinsic motivation can be either self-determined or not self-determined. For example, exercising in order to lose weight and improve appearance reflects motivation that is extrinsic and not self-determined, as they indicate a desire to attain ego enhancement or feelings of self-worth. Other exercise motives, Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CF). Cardiorespiratory fitness was tested using a longdistance run test (1000-meter run for men and 800-meter run for women) taken at a 400-meter standard oval track field. The score was the time (in seconds) the students took to finish the test. Less time indicates a higher cardiovascular endurance level. Given the large student population and real school conditions, the long-distance run is the most applicable measurement to examine students' CF level in China. 2 Morrow, Jackson, Disch, and Mood 31 supported that using longdistance run performance is acceptable for assessing adolescents' overall CF level. The reader should take the limitation of such field-based (rather than physical-fitness laboratory-based) CF test into account when interpreting the findings. Procedure The questionnaires were translated into Chinese by the first author, who is fluent in both Chinese and English. The translation was then validated by bilingual Chinese-American scholars (n=4) in physical education and kinesiology not affiliated with the study. Back-translation from Chinese to English was later done by a native Chinese individual, fluent in English, who found no deviations in meaning. The Chinese version was then piloted on 30 college students to check that it was intelligible and acceptable. The students were not part of the main study sample. Questionnaires were administered in regular physical education classes by the second author. The participants were encouraged to answer as truthfully as possible. They took approximately 35 minutes to complete the questionnaires. The participants' height, weight, and long-distance run performance were derived from their latest annual physical training test, which was conducted two weeks prior to data collection. The second author was permitted by the school's physical education department to record the participants' test results. Exercise Motives and Determinant 17 attention to ecological approaches that account for physical, psychological, and social factors. Without such integration, we are likely to lose sight of the bigger picture involved in the complex motivational processes of exercise and physical activity engagement.
doi:10.1123/jpah.5.5.706 fatcat:djjdf5haifdannqgdvak7hveia