The present study evaluated the effectiveness of an autonomy-supportive intervention based on self-determination theory in influencing perceptions of autonomy support, basic psychological needs, behavioral regulations, subjective vitality, and exercise behavior.
35 female exercise participants age 30 to 58 years who enrolled to an 8-week exercise program attended 24 exercise classes that were taught using either an autonomy-supportive (n = 19) or a lack of autonomy support (n = 16) instructing style.
The experimental group reported an increase in perceived autonomy support, the fulfillment of the needs for autonomy and competence, identified regulation, intrinsic motivation, and subjective vitality. They also reported higher attendance rates during the program and greater participation to moderate and/or mild nonstructured exercise during 5 weeks after the end of the program. The control group reported a decrease in perceived autonomy support, the needs for autonomy and competence, intrinsic motivation, and subjective vitality.
The results supported tenets of self-determination theory and highlighted the motivational and psychological benefits of an autonomy-supportive exercise instructing style among middle-age women.
Moustaka, Vlachopoulos, and Kabitsis are with the Dept of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Aghios Ioannis Serres, Greece. Theodorakis is with the Dept of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece.