Share This Article:

Enjoyment during Exercise Mediates the Effects of an Intervention on Exercise Adherence

Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:2540KB) PP. 48-54
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2015.61005    2,061 Downloads   2,483 Views   Citations
Author(s)    Leave a comment


Regular participation in physical activity is associated with a variety of health benefits and a reduction in diverse chronic diseases. However, empirical studies have shown that about 50% of the participants in exercise programs drop out during the first six months. One strategy to increase regular physical activity would be to promote positive feelings during exercise. The purposes of this experimental study were a) to investigate whether the affective states can be influenced by specific interventions and b) to link these changes in affective states to exercise adherence. The trainers of the experimental group were instructed to promote positive emotions (e.g. pleasure and fun) during exercise according to specific principles. The trainers of the control group were instructed to comply with the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. 24 participants in the experimental group and 17 participants in the control group were recruited for this study. The results of the repeated measures analyses of variance provide a significant time by group interaction suggesting that participants of the intervention group increased their affective ratings significantly compared to the control group. The results of the hierarchical regression analyses support the hypothesis that the changes in affective ratings related to exercise mediated the effects of intervention on physical activity adherence. This study provides evidence that affective states during exercise can be systematically influenced to increase physical activity adherence. Principles on how to increase positive affective judgments related to exercising can be drawn from this study and eventually be used in order to promote regular physical activity among a large part of the population.

Cite this paper

Jekauc, D. (2015). Enjoyment during Exercise Mediates the Effects of an Intervention on Exercise Adherence. Psychology, 6, 48-54. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.61005.


[1] Annesi, J. J. (2003). Effects of a Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Package on Exercise Attendance and Drop out in Fitness Centers. European Journal of Sport Science, 3, 1-16.
[2] Baranowski, T., Anderson, C., & Carmack, C. (1998). Mediating Variable Framework in Physical Activity Interventions: How Are We Doing? How Might We Do Better? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 15, 266-297.
[3] Biddle, S. J. H., Brehm, W., Verheijden, M., & Hopman-Rock, M. (2012). Population Physical Activity Behaviour Change: A Review for the European College of Sport Science. European Journal of Sport Science, 12, 367-383.
[4] Biddle, S. J. H., & Mutrie, N. (2008). Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-Being and Interventions. Oxon: Routledge.
[5] Cacioppo, J. T., & Berntson, G. G. (1999). The Affect System Architecture and Operating Characteristics. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 8, 133-137.
[6] Castro, C. M., Sallis, J. F., Hickmann, S. A., Lee, R. E., & Chen, A. H. (1999). A Prospective Study of Psychosocial Correlates of Physical Activity for Ethnic Minority Women. Psychology & Health, 14, 277-293.
[7] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Self-Determination: Wiley Online Library.
[8] Ekkekakis, P. (2009). Let Them Roam Free? Physiological and Psychological Evidence for the Potential of Self-Selected Exercise Intensity in Public Health. Sports Medicine, 39, 857-888.
[9] Ekkekakis, P., Backhouse, S. H., Gray, C., & Lind, E. (2008). Walking Is Popular among Adults but Is It Pleasant? A Framework for Clarifying the Link between Walking and Affect as Illustrated in Two Studies. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 246-264.
[10] Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I.-M., & Swain, D. P. (2011). Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 43, 1334-1359.
[11] Jekauc, D., Voelkle, M., Wagner, M. O., Mewes, N., & Woll, A. (2013). Reliability, Validity, and Measurement Invariance of the German Version of the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 38, 104-115.
[12] Kahneman, D., Fredrickson, B. L., Schreiber, C. A., & Redelmeier, D. A. (1993). When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End. Psychological Science, 4, 401-405.
[13] Loewenstein, G. F., Weber, E. U., Hsee, C. K., & Welch, N. (2001). Risk as Feelings. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 267-286.
[14] McAuley, E., Morris, K. S., Motl, R. W., Hu, L., Konopack, J. F., & Elavsky, S. (2007). Long-Term Follow-Up of Physical Activity Behavior in Older Adults. Health Psychology, 26, 375-380.
[15] Mujika, I., & Padilla, S. (2000). Detraining: Loss of Training-Induced Physiological and Performance Adaptations. Part I: Short Term Insufficient Training Stimulus. Sports Medicine, 30, 79-87.
[16] Reiner, M., Niermann, C., Jekauc, D., & Woll, A. (2013). Long-Term Health Benefits of Physical Activity—A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies. BMC Public Health, 13, 813.
[17] Rhodes, R. E., Fiala, B., & Conner, M. (2009). A Review and Meta-Analysis of Affective Judgments and Physical Activity in Adult Populations. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 180-204.
[18] Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
[19] Schneider, M. L., & Kwan, B. M. (2013). Psychological Need Satisfaction, Intrinsic Motivation and Affective Response to Exercise in Adolescents. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 776-785.
[20] Schwarz, N., & Clore, G. L. (1983). Mood, Misattribution, and Judgments of Well-Being: Informative and Directive Functions of Affective States. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 513-523.
[21] Slovic, P., Finucane, M. L., Peters, E., & MacGregor, D. G. (2007). The Affect Heuristic. European Journal of Operational Research, 177, 1333-1352.
[22] Trost, S. G., Owen, N., Bauman, A. E., Sallis, J. F., & Brown, W. (2002). Correlates of Adults’ Participation in Physical Activity: Review and Update. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34, 1996-2001.
[23] Tucker, J. M., Welk, G. J., & Beyler, N. K. (2011). Physical Activity in US Adults: Compliance with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40, 454-461.
[24] Williams, D. M., & Raynor, H. A. (2013). Disentangling the Effects of Choice and Intensity on Affective Response to and Preference for Self-Selected-Versus Imposed-Intensity Physical Activity. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 767-775.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.