A modeling approach to identity, motivation, and physical activity participation in former college athletes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin J. Reifsteck (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Diane Gill

Abstract: Research indicates that many athletes fail to maintain regular physical activity participation after transitioning out of competitive sports. Despite the important health consequences for athletes who drop from high activity to inactivity after completing their athletic careers, long-term physical activity maintenance among former college athletes is understudied. The present study examined physical activity behavior in former college athletes. Previous research suggests that self-identity influences physical activity participation, and individuals who are motivated by self-determined and volitional reasons are more likely to maintain their exercise behavior over time. Therefore, this research examined a theoretical model that incorporates tenets of identity theory and self-determination theory to investigate the relationships among identity, motivation, and physical activity participation in former college athletes. A total of 282 former Division I college athletes completed an online survey consisting of the Exercise Identity Scale, the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, the Behavioral Regulation for Exercise Questionnaire, the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire, and demographic items. Results suggest that exercise identity and athletic identity are both positively related to physical activity in former college athletes, and the identity - physical activity relationship was only partially mediated by self-determined forms of motivation. Exercise identity was a stronger predictor of self-determined motivation and physical activity compared to athletic identity. There was a significant interaction effect between exercise identity and athletic identity such that having a higher exercise identity strengthened the athletic identity - physical activity relationship. Path analyses are presented that model the direct and indirect effects among the identity, motivation, and physical activity variables. The relevant implications of these models for former college athletes and their participation in physical activity are discussed. The findings of this study add to our understanding of former college athletes' physical activity behavior within an identity and self-determination theory framework, and provide an evidence base to guide the development of appropriate interventions that can promote healthy, active lifestyles among current and future student-athletes.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
College athletes, Identity, Motivation, Physical activity
College athletes $x Retirement $z United States
Sports $x Psychological aspects
Identity (Psychology)

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