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Autonomy Mediates the Relationship between Personality and Physical Activity: An Application of Self-Determination Theory

Department of Exercise Science, Elon University, Elon, NC 27244, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eling de Bruin
Sports 2016, 4(2), 25;
Received: 1 January 2016 / Revised: 24 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 29 April 2016
PDF [987 KB, uploaded 29 April 2016]


This study sought to examine tenets of Self-Determination Theory by testing a mediation model of physical activity and personality via autonomy. A total of 290 adults were recruited to complete a one-time online survey of exercise habits and individual characteristics. Surveys assessed personality, autonomy, and physical activity. A measurement model specifying direct effects between personality dimensions and physical activity and indirect effects operating through autonomy provided an excellent fit to the data (Χ2 = 0.66, df = 3, p = 0.88, RMSEA(90% CI) = 0.00 (0.00–0.05), CFI = 0.99, SRMR = 0.01). Results indicated significant (p < 0.05) effects of Extroversion (β = 0.42), Conscientiousness (β = 0.96), and Emotional Stability (β = 0.60) on autonomy, which in turn, was significantly associated with physical activity (β = 0.55). No significant effects were observed for Agreeableness or Intellect. None of the personality constructs were found to be directly associated with physical activity. This model accounted for 27% of the variance in physical activity. The results of this study suggest that autonomy is significantly associated with physical activity. Therefore, attempts to improve autonomy in individuals may be a useful intervention strategy in improving physical activity levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: personality; physical activity; autonomy; self-determination personality; physical activity; autonomy; self-determination

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Ramsey, M.L.; Hall, E.E. Autonomy Mediates the Relationship between Personality and Physical Activity: An Application of Self-Determination Theory. Sports 2016, 4, 25.

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