Motivation for diet and exercise management among adults with type 2 diabetes

Scand J Caring Sci. 2011 Dec;25(4):735-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00884.x. Epub 2011 Mar 28.


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate diet and exercise management and how indicators of intrinsic motivation such as ability expectations and values are associated with diet and exercise management among adults with type 2 diabetes.

Background: Motivational problems are probably one of the main reasons for poor diabetes management. However, the mechanisms involved in the motivation for adequate self-management are still unclear.

Design and methods: A cross-sectional design including a postal questionnaire that investigated diet and exercise management as well as intrinsic motivational factors such as ability expectations and values related to these behaviours was used to collect the data. A sample comprising 425 adults with type 2 diabetes aged between 30 and 70 completed the questionnaire.

Results: Reported diet management was more in accordance with recommendations than reported exercise management. Yet results indicated equally high ability expectations and positive values for exercise and diet management. Moreover, results demonstrated that ability expectations and values explained more variance in exercise (21.6%) than in diet management (7.6%).

Conclusions: The modest association between intrinsic motivational factors and diet management may imply that there are important extrinsic factors that play a significant role in determining dietary behaviour. The combination of lower exercise activity than recommended and high ability expectations and values for such activity may reflect that subjective exercise norms are formed individually in accordance with what most people recognise as the appropriate level of physical activity. Finally, results may indicate that there is potential for improving exercise management by stimulating intrinsic motivation as well as by more clearly communicating recommendations for such management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires