The influence of autonomous motivation and regulation on physical activity among Hispanic women

Alisha Hayden Redelfs, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Hispanic women are more sedentary and engage in less exercise than non-Hispanic women, which has been linked with reduced life expectancy and high incidence of diabetes. Poor maintenance of physical activity habits developed in obesity interventions is common, thereby reducing long-term intervention effects. Collectivist culture compels Hispanic women to place more emphasis on others than on personal goals. Self-Determination Theory posits this would reduce the sustainability of exercise behaviors. The purpose of this research was to identify how regulation to engage in exercise among Hispanic women influenced participation in a 4-month cardiovascular disease prevention intervention. Data were collected from 107 women of Mexican descent, and intrinsic regulation was found to be a statistically significant predictor of physical activity (PA), though the relative autonomy index (RAI) was not. Decisional balance moderated the effect of RAI on PA though the effect size was small. Results suggest there may be cultural factors influencing these relationships. This research provides a starting point for an improved understanding of various factors influencing exercise among Hispanic women especially when cultural biases are reduced. Evidence was found suggesting that interventions should include processes that lead to the internalization of regulation, evidence critical to public health practice since women who become intrinsically regulated will better maintain physical activity behaviors.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Womens studies|Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Redelfs, Alisha Hayden, "The influence of autonomous motivation and regulation on physical activity among Hispanic women" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3623754.