Are There “Healthy” and “Unhealthy” Reasons for Exercise? Examining Individual Differences in Exercise Motivations Using the Function of Exercise Scale

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $58.00

1 year subscription

USD  $77.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $110.00

2 year subscription

USD  $144.00

This study reports the psychometric development of a measure to assess individual differences in exercise motivations using a functionalist strategy (Snyder & Cantor, 1997). Factor analyses revealed two subscales for the newly developed Function of Exercise Scale (FES): Weight and Appearance (WA), and Health and Enjoyment (HE). FES-HE scores correlated with better psychological well-being and predicted prospectively monitored as well as concurrently and longitudinally assessed exercise behavior. FES-HE scores also correlated with lower pulse, systolic blood pressure, and salivary cortisol readings, indicating its association with better physical health. In contrast, FES-WA scores correlated with greater depressive and eating disorder symptoms, as well as lower self-esteem, and predicted the later emergence of eating disorder, but not depressive, symptoms. FES-WA scores failed to show a relationship with measures of physical well-being, including exercise engagement and vital sign data. Overall, the FES appears to hold promise as a succinct and psychometrically sound heuristic for meaningfully relating exercise motivations to important indices of both physical and psychological well-being.

DiBartolo, Montoya, Neal, and Shaffer are with Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063. E-mail: Lin is with Emmanuel College, Boston, MA 02115.