UBC Theses and Dissertations
Is variety a spice of (an active) life? : the effects of variety on exercise behaviour and exercise-related well-being Sylvester, Benjamin Donald
The overall purpose of this dissertation was to examine variety in exercise, and investigate the extent to which the experience of variety in exercise is an additional psychological experience (i.e., when examined alongside satisfaction of the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy, embedded within self-determination theory) that has implications for increasing exercise behaviour and exercise-related well-being. The primary purpose of Study 1 was to develop an instrument to measure perceived variety in exercise, and examine whether ratings of perceived variety in exercise prospectively predict unique variance in indices of exercise-related well-being (when examined alongside the three basic psychological needs within self-determination theory, Deci & Ryan, 2002). The results indicate that perceived variety in exercise explains an important amount of variance in indices of exercise-related well-being, in addition to satisfaction of the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy. In Study 2 we examined whether perceived variety in exercise complements satisfaction of these three needs by prospectively predicting variance in exercise behaviour, through the mediating role of autonomous and controlled motivation. Results showed that perceived variety, competence, and relatedness were unique indirect positive predictors of exercise behaviour via autonomous motivation, and autonomy was found to negatively predict controlled motivation. Subsequently, we conducted a field-based experimental investigation for Studies 3 and 4 to examine whether the experience of variety in exercise causally influences exercise adherence behaviour and exercise-related well-being, respectively. Findings from Study 3 showed that greater exercise-related variety support influenced perceptions of variety in exercise, but not perceptions of competence, relatedness, or autonomy in exercise. Furthermore, greater variety support lead to improved exercise adherence, and that relationship was explained by perceived variety in exercise. In Study 4, we found evidence that exercise-related variety support led to higher scores on indices of exercise-related well-being, and that these relationships were mediated by perceptions of variety in exercise. Studies 3 and 4 provide evidence for the utility of targeting the experience of variety to influence exercise behaviour and exercise-related well-being. Combined, these investigations further our understanding of the predictive and causal implications that variety in exercise may have for exercise behaviour and exercise-related well-being.
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