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Sharon A. Mathes, Amy T. McGivern and Carole M. Schneider

Interest in the potential benefits of exercise and fitness programs has led many corporations to invest in such for their employees. Fitness program directors need to better understand factors that affect employees' decisions to participate. The purpose of this study was to examine whether male and female participants and nonparticipants differed in their conceptual and institutional motives for involvement in a corporate exercise program. The Exercise Program Survey was developed and administered randomly to 310 employees of a metropolitan insurance company. Participants scored items associated with enhancing fitness, reducing stress and learning to relax as more important than nonparticipants did. Participants also indicated that the institutional motive structure was more important, thus emphasizing the need for appropriate times, places, and availability of instruction. Women felt more strongly than men that weight control, fitness, stress reduction, relaxation, and smoking cessation activities were necessary components of a fitness program. Women also scored the structure and health institutional motives as more important.