Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effects of an Intervention to Foster a Caring and Task-Involving Climate at a University Recreation Center
by Brown, Theresa Clare, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2011, 217; 3458211
Abstract (Summary)

Specific links between social contexts, physical activity motivation and psychological outcomes have received minimal attention in the exercise domain, yet might help explain individuals' decisions whether to engage in exercise. Two theoretical frameworks that may further an understanding of exercise behavior are Achievement Goal Perspective Theory (AGPT; Nicholls, 1984; 1989) and Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1991); however little research has combined the theoretical tenants of each to explore how they influence each other. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to combine AGPT and SDT by examining participants' experiences while exercising at a campus recreation center both before and after an intervention with the recreation center staff. The intervention was designed to enhance members' perceptions of a caring and task-involving environment at the recreation center. The pre/post questionnaires completed by members (N = 779, M = 20.33, sd = 3.31) included measures of the following: (a) climate (e.g. perceptions of the caring, task-, and ego-involving climates), (b) psychological needs (e.g. autonomy, competence, and relatedness), (c) motivational responses (e.g. extrinsic and intrinsic motivation), (d) commitment to exercise and (e) psychological well-being (e.g. satisfaction with life, positive and negative mood states and satisfaction-dissatisfaction with body image).

The research questions and hypotheses were presented in three different papers, each targeting a different aspect of the overall study design. The purpose of Study 1 was to validate the psychometric properties of a newly created instrument, known as the Perceived Motivational Climate in Exercise Settings (PMCEQ; Huddleston, Fry & Brown, 2011), designed to assess motivational climates in exercise settings. Using confirmatory factor analysis, the factor structure of the PMCEQ was established. In addition, both the caring climate and positive and negative mood states were used to establish concurrent validity with the instrument. Results revealed support for a 27-item version of the PMCEQ.

The purpose of Study 2 was to (a) test a model examining whether psychological needs mediated the relationship between exercise participants perceptions of the climate to their self-determined motivation and (b) test whether self-determined motivation for exercise predicted the basic psychological needs and commitment to exercise, body image and satisfaction with life. Results revealed support for the model, with the change in climate predicting the basic psychological needs, the change in basic psychological needs predicting self-determined motivation and finally the change in self-determined motivation predicting the well-being measures. The final structural model demonstrated a tenable fit (χ2 (1928, n = 779) = 6205.722, p < .001, RMSEA = .053, SRMR = .061, TLI = 0.876, CFI = 0.888). Results suggest that theoretical tenants of AGPT might be an antecedent to SDT and provide insight into the mechanisms by which well-being is influenced by exercise climates.

The purpose of Study 3 was to assess the relationship between perceptions of staff behaviors and members' behaviors in a recreation center facility. Perceptions of a caring, task-involving climate were examined as the mediator between staffs' and members' behaviors. The staff and members' behaviors were considered from the members' perspective. Results revealed that the intervention did increase perceptions of the caring and task-involving climate while reducing perceptions of the ego-involving climate. The final model demonstrated acceptable fit (χ2 (378, n = 779)= 1462.277, p = <.001, RMSEA = .061, SRMR =.045, TLI = 0.948, CFI = 0.955), and indicated that staff behaviors predicted perceptions of the task-involving (β = .32, p = .00), ego-involving (β = .19, p = .00) and caring climates (β = .30, p = .00). Likewise, perceptions of the ego-involving climate negatively predicted members behaviors (β = −1.01, p = .00). Neither perceptions of the task-involving, caring climate nor staff behaviors significantly predicted members' post-intervention behaviors. Results offer suggestions for recreation center staff behaviors to influence members' exercise experiences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fry, Mary D.
Commitee: Greene, Leon, Little, Todd, Pressman, Sarah, Rice, Suzanne
School: University of Kansas
Department: Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Kinesiology, Quantitative psychology, Health education, Recreation
Keywords: Achievement motivation, Caring, Exercise, Exercise psychology, Intrinsic motivation, Recreation center, Task-involving
Publication Number: 3458211
ISBN: 978-1-124-69849-6
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