What Gets Them Moving? College Students' Motivation for Exercise: An Exploratory Study

Kailey Snyder, Jung Min Lee, Abby Bjornsen, Danae Dinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This exploratory study applied constructs of self-determination theory to assess college students exercise motivation and to determine the influence on exercise within active college students. Students included 24 college students (12 normal weight, 12 overweight) currently meeting national exercise recommendations. Surveys and semistructured interviews were used to assess exercise motivation. Descriptive statistics and MANOVA were used to analyze survey results. Horizontalization was used to analyze interview responses. It was found that the majority of students were extrinsically motivated for exercise regardless of BMI or gender. Identified regulation was found to be the most common form of motivation. Extrinsic motivation may be a key determinant for increasing exercise and enhancing utilization of campus recreation facilities among undergraduate students. Future efforts should consider the inclusion of extrinsic motivation (e.g., to look good, improve health) in communication strategies and program development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalRecreational Sports Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • extrinsic
  • health
  • recreation
  • self-determination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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