Purdue University Graduate School
Dissertation_Huffman.pdf (2.15 MB)

Older adults' maintenance of physical activity: An investigation of the motives of enjoyment, satisfaction, identity, and self-determination

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posted on 2021-04-19, 18:33 authored by Mary K HuffmanMary K Huffman
Many older adults report that they do not regularly engage in physical activity, highlighting the need for the creation of interventions that are more conducive to promoting sustained behavioral engagement. Physical activity intervention development should first begin with the identification of modifiable factors that are related to the behavior and the conditions under which these factors do and do not impact physical activity, as well as the validation of instruments to measure these factors. Enjoyment of physical activity, satisfaction with physical activity, self-determination, and physical activity identity have been theorized as four “maintenance motives” necessary for health behavior maintenance. The purpose of this dissertation research project was to identify which of these theory-based motives are associated with the maintenance of physical activity for older adults (≥ 55 years of age) and to test the robustness of measures of motive assessment. This dissertation consists of several studies detailed in five chapters. Chapter 2 reports the findings of two studies that examined older adults’ beliefs related to their physical activity maintenance through both a free-response format and in-depth semi-structured interviews. Chapters 3 and 4 describe a systematic review and meta-analysis that explored the relations between enjoyment, satisfaction, self-determination, and identity and older adults’ physical activity maintenance. The following two chapters include two studies that investigated the robustness of measurement instruments assessing self-determined regulatory styles for physical activity (i.e., self-determination) and physical activity identity (Chapter 5) and physical activity enjoyment and satisfaction (Chapter 6). Together, findings suggest that these four motives are related to the maintenance of physical activity for older adults, with more evidence supporting the relation between self-determination and maintenance. Findings provide insight as to for whom (e.g., older adults with health conditions) and in which context (e.g., re-engaging in physical activity after time away) motives may exert their influence on behavior. Moreover, this dissertation project reports psychometric properties of new and modified measures that can be used to assess the maintenance motives in future studies. This dissertation contributes to the literature by enabling researchers to more accurately and confidently choose and measure proposed mechanisms of change and thus provides a foundation upon which future physical activity intervention development can expand.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Health and Kinesiology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Steve Amireault

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Kenneth F. Ferraro

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. David B. Klenosky

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Kristine Marceau

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