The purpose of this study was to identify the motivational profiles of physically active older adults and to achieve a better understanding of their perceived motives to explain their regular physical activity behavior in relation to self-determination theory (SDT). To address these aims, this study used quantitative and qualitative approaches. Older adults (n = 92; M = 74.95, SD = 4.6) completed the French version of the Sport Motivational Scale. A cluster analysis showed two motivational profiles with differential motivational patterns. The first was named the high combined profile, with high scores on intrinsic motivation and introjected regulation and low levels of external regulation. The second profile was the low to moderate motivational profile, with low scores on intrinsic motivation and moderate scores on introjected regulation. The qualitative study’s results demonstrate the usefulness of SDT in explaining the relationship between these motivational profiles and the intertwining of the three basic psychological needs.
Ferrand is with the Research Team of Psychology of Ages of Life, François Rabelais University, Tours, France. Nasarre and Hautier are with the Center for Research and Innovation in Sport, University de Lyon, Villeurbanne, France. Bonnefoy is with the Geriatric Medicine Service, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud, Lyon, France.