The importance of self-determined motivation towards physical activity in patients with schizophrenia

Psychiatry Res. 2013 Dec 30;210(3):812-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 18.


There is a need for theoretically-based research on the motivational processes linked to the commencement and continuation of physical activity in patients with schizophrenia. Within the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) framework, we investigated the SDT tenets in these patients by examining the factor structure of the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 (BREQ-2) and by investigating associations between motivation and PA. The secondary aim was to study differences in motivation according to gender, educational level, treatment setting and disease stage. A total of 129 patients (44♀) with schizophrenia agreed to participate. Exploratory factor analysis showed sufficient convergence with the original factor for amotivation, external and introjected regulation, while identified and intrinsic regulations loaded on a single factor which we labeled "autonomous regulation". Significant positive correlations were found between the total physical activity score and the subscales amotivation (r = -0.44, P < 0.001), external regulation (r = -0.27, P < 0.001), and autonomous regulation (r = 0.57, P < 0.001). Outpatients reported more external (P < 0.05) and introjected (P < 0.05) regulations than inpatients. Our results suggest that patients' level of self-determination may play an important role in the adoption and maintenance of health promoting behaviors in patients with schizophrenia.

Keywords: Exercise; Motivation; Physical activity; Schizophrenia; Self determination.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Motor Activity
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / therapy
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires