EXERCISE AND STRESS RELIEF: THE ROLE OF MOTIVATION FOR EXERCISE
The purpose of the study is to examine whether people perceive less stress after regular exercise, and a potential moderating role of intrinsic motivation for exercise on stress reduction. The association between physical activity and increased overall general health has been well established (Blair, Jacobs & Powell, 1996). Research shows that people who engage in regular exercise or higher level of physical activities tend to maintain better mental health and lower perceived stress (Clark et al., 2014). Cognitive stress is not affected by physical fitness type, but fitness level does on those who experience high stress levels (Gnam et al., 2018). However, feeling pressured to work out may not reduce, but rather increase stress, because that adds more work to do, rather than relieve stress. Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) suggests that intrinsic motivation (e.g., "I want to exercise because it is fun") increases performance and maintains the behavior much better than extrinsic motivation (e.g., "I have to work out"). Therefore, we hypothesized that people who were intrinsically motivated to exercise would have lower perceived level of stress than those who were extrinsically motivated to exercise. This study has been approved by the university IRB. We recruited 200 participants from the University Recreation Center who attend group fitness classes. Participants will be asked to complete a paper survey that includes Perceived Stress Scale (Matheny & McCarthy, 2000), Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire (Exercise) and Perceived Competence (Exercising Regularly) (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Williams, Deci, & Ryan, 1999), Big Five Inventory Conscientiousness subscale (John & Srivastava, 1999), International Physical Activity Questionnaire (Patterson, 2012), and a demographic form. Data collection is complete, the analysis is underway. An ANOVA will be conducted with extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation as an independent variable, and the discrepancy score on perceived stress before and after engaging regular exercise as the dependent variable. The study findings are expected to inform exercise and clinical professionals the effects of working out on stress management and if different types of motivation are significant factors.
Shilney, Nicholas, "EXERCISE AND STRESS RELIEF: THE ROLE OF MOTIVATION FOR EXERCISE" (2019). University Research Symposium. 294.