A Self-Determination Theory Application to Physical Activity in Charity Sports Events

John A. Bernhart, Sara Wilcox, Brooke W. McKeever, Diane K. Ehlers, Jennifer R. O’Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Charity sports events, specifically 5K events, reach large numbers of people and may help promote physical activity (PA). Few studies exist applying Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to participation in these events. This study examined changes in SDT constructs of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness satisfaction in participants (n = 207) of charity 5K events and (2) examined relationships among post-event SDT constructs, PA, and intention to complete future events. Participants completed online surveys before and after a charity 5K event using the Psychological Needs Satisfaction in Exercise Scale, Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2, and International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Short Form. Repeated measures analysis of covariance analyzed the first purpose and regression the second. Competence satisfaction increased (P =.04) and relatedness satisfaction decreased (P =.04). Higher post-event relatedness satisfaction was associated with intention to complete future charity 5K events (OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.11). Higher post-event autonomy, competence, and relatedness satisfaction and intrinsic motivation were associated with greater post-event MET-minutes of PA (all P <.05).Findings may be useful for promoting PA and helping organizations increase participation. Specifically, events facilitating relatedness among participants may lead to repeat participation as these events have opportunities to fulfill SDT outcomes and increase post-event PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • exercise
  • fundraising
  • health promotion
  • nonprofit
  • self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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