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Shane N. Sweet, Michelle S. Fortier and Chris M. Blanchard

Background:

Because motivation has been deemed a key barrier to physical activity, it is imperative that we know how motivational levels change over time and how that change relates to physical activity. Based in Self-Determination Theory, this study investigated fluctuations in physical activity and motivational regulations over 25 weeks and tested the relationship between these 2 variables.

Methods:

Data from the Physical Activity Counseling trial were examined. Inactive adults recruited from a primary care center (N = 120) answered motivation and physical activity questionnaires during the intervention and postintervention phases. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the hypotheses.

Results:

Quadratic changes were found for external regulation (γ20= 0.02, P < .05) and physical activity (γ20 = –2.64, P < .001), while identified (γ10= 0.04, P = .03) and intrinsic (γ10= 0.04, P = .01) regulations increased linearly over the course of the 25 weeks. Only identified regulation (γ30= 3.15, P = .01) and intrinsic motivation (γ30= 4.68, P < .001) were significantly and positively related with physical activity.

Conclusion:

Physical activity, external and identified regulations and intrinsic motivation changed over the 25 weeks. Intervention should aim at fostering identified regulation and intrinsic motivation as greater levels of these regulations were related with physical activity.

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Krystn Orr, Katherine A. Tamminen, Shane N. Sweet, Jennifer R. Tomasone and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos

This study was guided by self-determination theory to explore the sport experiences of youth with a physical disability and the role of peers within this context. Interviews were conducted with eight youths using a relational mapping technique and analyzed using a deductive thematic approach. Sport peers were broadly defined by the youth as individuals from a large age range and of all abilities. Youth perceived their sport peers to have dynamic roles throughout their participation in sport. The perceived roles of these sport peers included supporting and thwarting basic psychological needs, and influencing the youths’ processing of sport internalization. Findings focus on the complexity of peer need-thwarting and need-supporting interactions in sport for youth with physical disabilities. Overall, peers have a multifaceted role in the sport experiences of youth identifying with a physical disability and may, in some cases, thwart youths’ basic psychological needs.

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Shane N. Sweet, Lawrence R. Brawley, Alexandra Hatchell, Heather L. Gainforth and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

Given the positive influence of action planning on physical activity, persuasive messages could be designed to promote action planning. The purpose of this paper was to test action planning messages in two studies. Participants were allocated to one of two message groups, reading either a physical activity only or physical activity plus action planning message (Study 1) and either a gain-framed or loss-framed action planning message (Study 2). The percent of individuals who created an action plan and the quality of the plans were evaluated. In Study 1, individuals in the physical activity plus action planning group created as many action plans as the physical activity only group, but their plans were higher quality. In Study 2, Week 2 differences between the gain- and loss-framed message groups were found for action planning. To our knowledge, these studies were the first to investigate message-induced action planning as a behavior. More research is needed to optimize these messages.

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Rachael C. Stone, Shane N. Sweet, Marie-Josée Perrier, Tara MacDonald, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

Identifying as a regular exerciser has been found to effectively alter stereotypes related to warmth and competence for adults with a physical disability; however, it remains unclear how sport participation can influence this trend. Therefore, this study aimed to examine warmth and competence perceptions of adults with a physical disability portrayed as elite and nonelite athletes relative to other athletic and nonathletic subgroups of adults with and without a physical disability in the context of the stereotype content model. Using survey data from able-bodied participants (N = 302), cluster analyses were applied to a behaviors from intergroup affect and stereotypes map for displaying the intersection of warmth and competence perceptions. The results demonstrated that adults with a physical disability who are described as elite athletes (i.e., Paralympians) are clustered with high warmth and high competence, similar to their able-bodied athletic counterparts (i.e., Olympians). The findings suggest that perceiving athletic and elite sport statuses for adults with a physical disability may counter the stereotypes commonly applied to this group.

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Benjamin D. Sylvester, Martyn Standage, Tavinder K. Ark, Shane N. Sweet, Peter R.E. Crocker, Bruno D. Zumbo and Mark R. Beauchamp

In this study, we examined whether perceived variety in exercise prospectively predicts unique variance in exercise behavior when examined alongside satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs (for competence, relatedness, and autonomy) embedded within self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002), through the mediating role of autonomous and controlled motivation. A convenience sample of community adults (N = 363) completed online questionnaires twice over a 6-week period. The results of structural equation modeling showed perceived variety and satisfaction of the needs for competence and relatedness to be unique indirect positive predictors of exercise behavior (through autonomous motivation) 6 weeks later. In addition, satisfaction of the need for autonomy was found to negatively predict controlled motivation. Perceived variety in exercise complemented satisfaction of the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy in predicting motivation and (indirectly) exercise behavior, and may act as a salient mechanism in the prediction of autonomous motivation and behavior in exercise settings.