An examination of the psychological influences on changes in cardio-respiratory fitness

Reay, Andrew Sanderson (2013). An examination of the psychological influences on changes in cardio-respiratory fitness. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Low levels of cardio-respiratory fitness represent a major health risk. Few studies have investigated the possible contribution of psychological influences to cardio-respiratory fitness, with none longitudinally. The purpose of the present thesis was to explore the cognitive and behavioural correlates of adults’ cardio-respiratory fitness using theoretical constructs forwarded in Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2000) and the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB; Azjen, 1991).

Studies 1 and 3 tested potential contributions of the Self Determination Theory cognitions of autonomous (intrinsic and identified) and controlled (introjected and external) motivations, including amotivation, to cardio-respiratory fitness over 9 weeks and 3 years. Studies 2 and 4 tested potential contributions from the Theory of Planned Behaviour constructs of intention, attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control to cardio-respiratory fitness over the same time period. Analysis from structural equation modelling revealed only intrinsic motivation and affective attitude, constructs from the SDT and TPB respectively, contributed to changes in fitness.

Collectively, the four studies suggest that intrinsic motivation and affective attitude are of major importance to cardio-respiratory fitness, even when individuals may have prominent controlled reasons for participating in exercise. The findings provide a foundation for theoretically aligned future research investigating the psychosocial antecedents of exercise with a view to developing more effective theory driven lifestyle interventions directed at enhancing this important health outcome.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine


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