Fitness Assessment Feedback May Lower Intrinsic Motivation for Physical Activity among College Students
Fitness assessments are commonly used as a motivational tool in exercise classes and fitness training. However, there is little research on their actual effect. This study explored how the feedback from a fitness assessment may affect intrinsic motivation for physical activity in college students. The study utilized a quasi-experimental design where 430 college students were assigned to either an intervention or one of two control groups. The fitness assessment was only distributed to the subjects in the intervention group. Students were surveyed at four-time points to examine subjects’ competence, autonomy and intrinsic motivation. A repeated measures general linear model measured differences between those who did and did not receive the fitness assessment. Intrinsic motivation (F(6,848)=2.33 p=.031) and competence (F(6, 848)=3.81, p=.001) diminished significantly in the group receiving fitness assessment feedback as compared to either control group. Additionally, for those in the intervention group that perceived their feedback as negative there was a significant decrease in competence (F(1,155)=15.59, p<.001), intrinsic motivation (F(1, 155)=6.41, p=.012), and physical activity (F(1,155)=7.46, p=.007). Fitness assessment feedback may hinder intrinsic motivation toward physical activity at least among those dissatisfied with the feedback.
Copyright (c) 2021 Laura Chandler, Jerry W. Lee, Karen T. Lesniak, R. Patti Herring
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