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Athletic identity mediates between exercise motivation and beneficial outcomes.

Exercise is associated with physical and psychological well-being (Biddle, 2000; Penedo & Dahn, 2005; Reed & Ones, 2006; Wipfli, Rethorst, & Landers, 2008) and quality of life (Thogersen-Ntoumani, Fox, & Ntoumani, 2005; Weinberg & Gould, 2010). Researchers have drawn on exercise motivation and identity theory to better understand exercise participation and psychological well-being (Anderson & Cychosz, 1994; 1995; Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 2008; Vlachopoulos, 2009). The relationships between the motivation and identity as they link to exercise and psychological well-being remain unknown.

Actions motivated by intrinsic autonomous regulation may result in more personally satisfying and beneficial outcomes (Ryan & Deci, 2002). As described by Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002), autonomous intrinsic regulation motivates through the inherent agentic need to engage in an activity for its own sake and for the growth opportunities an activity may offer. Intrinsic regulation can be contrasted with extrinsic regulation, of which external regulation is the most extreme form. External regulation motivates individuals through rewards and punishments provided by the environment. Other levels of extrinsic regulation, including introjected, identified and integrated regulation, describe degrees of internalisation of motivation that was originally directed by external forces. Introjected, identified and integrated regulation along with intrinsic motivation anchor motivation to the self. Intrinsic regulation results in autonomous motivation, while extrinsic and especially external regulation result in less autonomous motivation.

The continuum dimension of Self-determination Theory has become a central topic of investigation within the realms of sport and exercise (Biddle & Nigg, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2007); with researchers focusing on understanding the relationship between motivation as described by Self-Determination Theory and physical activity as well as psychological well-being related to physical activity. Consistent with the predictions of Self-Determination Theory regarding autonomous regulation leading to better outcomes, a meta-analysis of 184 data sets showed that more autonomous regulation is associated with better physical and mental health (Ng et al., 2012). For example, Sebire, Standage, and Vansteenkiste (2009) found that individuals with greater intrinsic motivation to exercise experienced more well-being, assessed through feelings of vitality, lack of depression and anxiety and greater happiness. Duncan, Hall, Wilson and Jenny (2010) found that more intrinsic exercise motivation is associated with greater frequency of exercise. This research supports the link between intrinsic motivation and well-being associated with physical activity. Even though intrinsic exercise motivation appears to be a powerful factor in regulation of exercise, externally induced motivation, which consists of reinforcement delivered by external agents (Ryan & Deci, 2002) can also play a role promoting exercise and associated health outcomes (Petry, Barry, Pescatello, & White, 2011; Weinberg, & Gould, 2010).

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be sources of identity formation (Ryan & Deci, 2011; Waterman, 2004). Self-identity or self-concept consists of an individual's perception of the self and can include various roles and characteristics (Epstein, 1997; Markus & Kitayama, 2010). One aspect of self-identity is athletic identity, which refers to the extent to which an individual identifies with the role of an athlete (Brewer, Van Raalte & Linder, 1993). Consistent with the notion that self-identity may be hierarchical (Marsh & Craven, 2006), athletic identity may have subcomponents, including self-referent aspects of athleticism and social aspects of athleticism (Martin, Eklund, & Mushett, 1997; Martin, Mushett & Eklund, 1994). Martin and colleagues found evidence of self and social referent athletic identity in athletes with disabilities. These types of athletic identity may apply equally to athletes with no disabilities. Athletic self-referent identity refers to aspects of the athletic self-concept involving self-referenced perceptions, such as "I consider myself an athlete". Social athletic self-identity refers to aspects of the athletic self-concept which involve the self as embedded in interactions with others and perceptions of others' views that relate to one's identity such as "Other people see me mainly as an athlete." (example statements are from the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale developed by Brewer et al., 1993).

Some aspects of identity develop from agentic tendencies or natural inclinations and interests (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Such aspects of identity are prompted by intrinsic motivation. Other aspects of identity may develop as a result of outside pressures or expectations giving rise to extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation, and to some extent introjected, identified and integrated regulation, may associate more strongly with self-referenced athletic identity because the individual is motivated through mechanisms related to the self, whereas social-referenced athletic identity may associate to external motivation as the individual is motivated by others thus develops an identity that is influenced by others.

Ryan and Deci (2011) provide an example of these motivational paths to athletic self-referent and social-referent athletic identity as follows, "For instance, when two adolescent girls take on the identity of gymnast, one might be doing it to please her athletically oriented parents, in which case she would compliantly go through the motions of practice and performance with minimal enthusiasm or inspiration, and perhaps with feelings of pressure or conflict. The other girl might fully embrace the identity of gymnast, viewing it as a valued avocation, and engage in it energetically on an everyday basis. Both examples are of people who, from the outside, have an identity as gymnast but clearly have adopted this identity differently, resulting in different manners of engagement and degrees to which the identity has permeated their lives" (Ryan & Deci, 2011, p. 228).

Empirical research shows that extrinsic and intrinsic exercise motivation are related to the overall strength of individuals' self-identity as exercisers. Exercise identity is similar to athletic identity in that it also relates to the physical activity aspects of the self, but differs in that it refers to general participation in physical activity, while athletic identity relates to sport and the self. For example, individuals who engage in a regular walking program might relate this to their sense of exercise identity, while soccer players might relate that physical activity to their athletic identity. Strachan, Fortier, Perras, and Lugg (2013) found intrinsic exercise motivation was significantly related to a stronger overall exercise identity (with a correlation of .58). Greater introjected, identified and integrated regulation were also significantly related to strength of exercise identity (with correlations of .32, .72, .82 respectively). External exercise regulation motivation was not significantly related to overall exercise identity (with a correlation of -.17). Even though exercise identity is a somewhat different aspect of identity from athletic identity, similar relationships might be expected for athletic identity. The relationships between types of motivation as described by self-determination theory and facets of athletic identity, including self-referent and social-referent athletic identity remain to be examined. Such an examination would be valuable for the field in providing information that may provide a platform for investigation of more individually tailored exercise interventions or coaching efforts.

Aspects of self-identity may guide identity-relevant reactions (Rise, Sheeran, & Hukkelberg, 2010), including specific behaviours and emotional reactions (Markus & Kitayama, 2010). Empirical research has confirmed the importance of athletic self-identity in such reactions. For example, stronger total athletic identity is related to more frequent exercising and athletic participation (Anderson, 2004; Lamont-Mills & Christensen, 2006), better perceived quality of life (Groff, Lundberg, & Zabriskie, 2009) and extremity of emotional reaction to sport disruptive events (Brewer, 1993). Different aspects of athletic identity may also be associated with different outcomes. For example, Bums, Jasinski, Dunn and Fletcher (2012) found that while overall athletic identity and exclusivity of athletic identity were not related to athletic satisfaction, social athletic identity was significantly associated with athletic satisfaction. Ryska (2002) found that social athletic identity was associated with greater scholastic and vocational competence while several other forms of athletic identity were not associated with these types of competence.

The links between athletic identity and general quality of life have not been much examined. High subjective well-being is an important marker of quality of life. Higher subjective well-being is associated with a variety of positive life outcomes, including better health (Diener & Chan, 2011). Greater life satisfaction as well as high positive affect and low negative affect are often used as indices of subjective well-being (Lyubomirsky, King & Diener, 2005).

Aims of the Present Project

The present project investigated the mediating effect of athletic identity on the relationship between exercise motivation to the amount of exercise and subjective well-being. The project focused on intrinsic and external motivation in particular as they represent the polar ends of the motivation self-determination continuum as proposed by Ryan and Deci (2000; 2002), as these types of motivation have effectively been applied to exercise (Ryan & Deci, 2007) and as these types of motivation may give rise to different forms of athletic identity. Introjected, identified and integrated exercise motivation may be related to athletic identity is a way similar to intrinsic motivation because they also to some extent integrate motivation with the self. We predicted that more external and intrinsic exercise motivation would be related to a higher level of total athletic identity and a greater amount of exercise. Both types of motivation may influence formation of athletic identity and engagement in exercise, though through different paths. As intrinsic motivation leads to agentic and self-actualising activity, we predicted that more intrinsic exercise motivation would be associated with greater subjective well-being as assessed by life satisfaction and more positive affect.

Based on Ryan and Deci's (2011) proposal that intrinsic and external motivation may prompt differential development of athletic identity, we predicted that intrinsic exercise motivation would be more likely to be associated with self-referent athletic identity and that extrinsic exercise motivation would be more likely to be associated with social-referent athletic identity. The hypotheses underlying the research focused on intrinsic and external exercise motivation and self-referent and social-referent athletic identity as intrinsic and external motivation are at the ends of the Self-Determination model regulation continuum. However, introjected and identified regulation may also influence development of the self and thus might also be expected to be somewhat related to self-referent identity. Total athletic identity, which encompasses different aspects of athletic identity, including self and social referent identity, might also be influenced by the different forms of exercise motivation.

We predicted that self-referent and social-referent athletic identity would explain different mediation paths in the relationships between exercise motivation with amount of exercise and subjective well-being. Specifically, we expected that self-referent athletic identity would mediate between intrinsic motivation and exercise and well-being, while social-referent athletic identity would not. We expected that social-referent athletic identity would mediate between extrinsic motivation and exercise and well-being, while self-referent athletic identity would not. Motivation may have roots in biological processes shaped by evolutionary selection of tendencies that ensure survival (Elliot, 2006), and thus may be a primary process. This primary role of motivation may create the foundation for the development of other important functions, such as identity. Congruent with this notion Self-Determination Theory proposes that motivation gives rise to other aspects of development, such as identity and self-concept (Ryan & Deci, 2002; 2011). Figure 1 shows the basic theoretical model positing motivation as the foundation for identity, which in turn gives rise to various outcomes.

The primary hypotheses tested in the present research were as follows:

1. A higher level of intrinsic exercise motivation would be related to a higher level of exercise, and greater well-being as assessed by more life satisfaction, more positive affect and less negative affect.

2. A higher level of external exercise motivation would be related to a higher level of exercise, and greater well-being as assessed by less life satisfaction, less positive affect, and more negative affect.

3. A higher level of intrinsic exercise motivation would be related to more self-referent athletic identity as well as total athletic identity.

4. A higher level of external exercise motivation would be related to more social-referent athletic identity as well as total athletic identity.

5. Self-referent athletic identity would be a path between intrinsic motivation and exercise and well-being.

6. Social-referent athletic identity would be a path between extrinsic motivation and exercise and well-being.

7. Total athletic identity would be a path between both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation respectively and exercise and well-being.

Methods

Participants and Procedure

Four hundred and seventy-five participants initially expressed interest in the study and 400 completed measures of exercise motivation, athletic identity, exercise frequency, and well-being as well as basic age and gender demographic information on-line (return rate of 81.25%). The research was approved by the university institutional review board. As participants responded anonymously, participants indicated their consent via an implied informed consent statement. Participants were recruited through the Qualtrics panel system from the general population in the United States (200 participants) and Australia (200 participants). The 202 women and 198 men comprising the sample had a mean age of 45.95 (SD = 14.68), with a range of 18 to 89.

Measures

Intrinsic and external exercise motivation. The Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ-2; Markland & Tobin, 2004) assessed motivation for exercise as based on Ryan and Deci's (2000; 2002) Self-Determination Theory of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The BREQ-2 consists of subscales that assess five motivations on the self-determination continuum. Markland and Tobin found the subscales relevant to the present study to have good reliability as assessed through Cronbach's alpha, External regulation (.79), Introjected regulation (.80), Identified regulation (.73), and Intrinsic regulation (.86). Validity evidence includes association with constructs one would expect to be related to the different types of exercise motivation (Brickell & Chatzisarantis, 2007; Duncan et al., 2010). In the present research internal consistency as assessed by Cronbach's alpha was as follows: External regulation (.85), Introjected regulation (.79), Identified regulation (.81), and Intrinsic regulation (.92). Even though the focus of the present study was on the continuum extremes of external regulation and intrinsic regulation as measured by the relevant subscales, both to maintain integrity of scale administration and to provide some exploratory information for introjection and identification, the scale was used in its entirety.

Athletic identity. The Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS; Brewer, 1993; Brewer et al., 1993) assessed athletic identity as a uni-dimensional construct consisting of total identification of the self as athlete as well as subcomponents of athletic identity. Previous research has investigated the reliability and validity of total scale scores based on 10 items as well as subscale scores (Brewer et al, 1993, Bums et al, 2012), reflecting facets of athletic identity (e.g., Groff & Zabriskie, 2006; Martin, 1999, Martin et al, 1997). Some research suggests efficacy of the use of a 7-item version of scale (Visek, Hurst, Maxwell & Watson, 2008); however the seven item scale does not encompass all subscales identified by Martin et al, 1997), thus the original 10-item version was used in the current research. The internal consistency as assessed by Cronbach's alpha for the total scale is good at .80 (Brewer et al, 1993). Reliability of the two to three item subscale scores as found for athletes with disabilities by Martin and colleagues and relevant to the present study was as follows: social identity (.51) and self-identity (.66) (Martin et al, 1997). In the current study internal consistency for the total 10 item scale as assessed by Cronbach's alpha was .95. Reliability of the subscales for the current study was as follows: social identity (.82) and self-identity (.91). Even though the focus of the present study was on self and social identity as measured by the relevant subscales, both to maintain integrity of scale administration and to provide some exploratory information for other subscales, the scale was administered in its entirety.

Exercise frequency. The Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (Godin & Shepherd, 1985) assessed frequency and intensity of exercise. This measure provides an overall index of amount of exercise comprised of frequency and intensity of exercise. Participants recorded how many times a week they participated in strenuous, moderate, and mild exercise for at least 15 minutes per week. These values were weighted according to the instructions of Godin and Shepherd (1985).The resulting index of exercise is related to physical indicators of fitness such as maximal aerobic power and percentage of body fat (Godin, 2011). In the present study the components of strenuous, moderate and mild exercise formed a reliable index with a Cronbach's alpha of .83.

Subjective well-being. Subjective well-being has been commonly defined by high levels of life satisfaction, high levels of typical positive affect, and low levels of typical negative affect (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005).

In the present study, life satisfaction was assessed by the Life Satisfaction Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), which measures global life satisfaction. The internal consistency of the Life Satisfaction Scale ranged from .82 to .87 and the scale shows evidence of construct validity through associations with theoretically related constructs (Pavot & Diener, 1993). In the present study, Cronbach's alpha was .91.

Typical positive and negative affect was assessed by the typical affect version of the Positive and Negative Affect Scales (PANAS; Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988). These scales assess positive and negative affect as independent dimensions, with high scores on positive affect indicating highly activated positive emotions such as excitement and high scores on negative affect indicating highly activated emotions such as distress, an approach consistent with a circumplex model conceptualisation of emotion (Larsen, McGraw, & Cacioppo, 2001). The internal consistency for the scales using the typical affect instructions range from .85 to .88, eight-week test-retest reliability ranges from .68 to .71, and the scales show evidence of validity, including expected associations with other measure of mood (Watson et al., 1988). In the present study, Cronbach's alpha was .90 for both the Positive Affect Scale and the Negative Affect Scale.

Data Analysis

As forced response before progression to the next question was programmed into the on-line data collection system, the 75 participants who discontinued were missing entire scales. For this reason there was no imputation of data. Composite variables from each survey were formed following the procedure suggested by the developers of each measure. Pearson r correlations examined the bi-variate associations between variables. Regression-based mediation examined the mediating role of total athletic identity, self-referent and social-referent athletic identity in the relationship of external and intrinsic exercise motivation with amount of exercise, life satisfaction, positive affect and negative affect. The mediation analyses were conducted using an SPSS macro developed by Preacher and Hayes (2008) using the bootstrapping confidence interval approach to mediation testing (Rucker, Preacher, Tormala, & Petty, 2011). The macro estimates the path coefficients in a mediator model and generates bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals for mediational effects.

Results

Descriptive Statistics and Group Differences

Table 1 shows the mean scores of participants for the major constructs for the entire sample and for participants from the United States and from Australia. Participants from Australia did not significantly differ from US participants except on total athletic identity, self-reference athletic identity and social-referent athletic identity. Participants from the US scored higher than participants from Australia on these variables, though the effect sizes of the differences were small. The differences were as follows: total athletic identity, t(398) = 2.12,p = .03, [[eta].sup.2] = .01; self-reference athletic identity, t(398) = 3.03,p = .003, [[eta].sup.2] = .02; and social-referent athletic identity t(398) = 3.11 ,p = .002, [[eta].sup.2] = .02.

Relationships between Exercise Motivation, Athletic Identify, Life Satisfaction and Affect

Tables 2 and 3 show the correlations between the main variables. Both higher external and higher intrinsic exercise motivation were significantly associated with total athletic identity, as well as self-referent athletic identity and social referent athletic identity. The relationship between external motivation with social-referenced athletic identity was stronger (at .34) than the relationship between external motivation with self-referenced athletic identity (at .22). Differences in strength of correlations among these sets of variables were assessed for significance using Fischer r to z transformations. The correlations were significantly different, z = 1.84, p = .033 (one-tailed) Conversely, the relationship between intrinsic motivation with self-referenced athletic identity was stronger (at .44) than the relationship between intrinsic motivation with social-referenced athletic identity (at .35). There was a trend in significance in the difference between these correlations, z = 1.5, p = .067 (one-tailed) Higher levels of both external and intrinsic motivation were significantly associated with more exercising. Higher levels of external motivation were associated with significantly more negative affect and were not related to positive affect or life satisfaction. Higher levels of intrinsic motivation were related to significantly more positive affect and life satisfaction.

Total athletic identity, self-referent athletic identity and social referent athletic identity were all significantly associated with associated with amount of exercise, life satisfaction, and positive and negative affect. The associations of self-referent and social-referent athletic identity with life satisfaction and positive affect were stronger than the associations with negative affect.

Athletic Identity as a Mediator between Exercise Motivation and Outcomes

Mediation analyses using the macro developed by Preacher and Hayes (2008) examined the mediating effect of athletic identity in the relationship between motivation and the proposed outcomes. The single order- relationships between exercise motivation and athletic identity and the relationships between athletic identity and subjective well-being and amount of exercise are presented in Tables 2 and 3, thus these coefficients will not be presented in the following mediation model testing results. The [R.sup.2] for each mediation model is provided for those with significant mediation results

Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and life satisfaction (SE=.03, bias corrected 95% CI = .01 to .14), [R.sup.2] for the entire model was .07, p =.0001. Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and amount of exercise (SE = 1.03, bias corrected 95% CI = 1.01 to 6.39), [R.sup.2] for the entire model was .06,p=.0001. Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and negative affect (SE = .06, bias corrected 95% CI = .09 to .22), [R.sup.2] for the entire model was .07, p =.0001. Total athletic identity was not a significant mediator of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and positive affect (SE = .03, bias corrected 95% CI = -.01 to .10).

Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between external exercise motivation and total amount of exercise (SE = 1.07, bias corrected 95% CI = 1.53 to 6.24), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .12, p =.0001. Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between external exercise motivation and positive affect (SE = .04, bias corrected 95% CI = .09 to .25), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .06, p =.0001. Total athletic identity was also a significant mediator of the relationship between external exercise motivation and negative affect (SE = .03, bias corrected 95% CI = .02 to .16), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .12, p =.0001.

Self-referent athletic identity was a significant mediator in the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and positive affect (SE = .06, bias corrected 95% CI = .01 to .23), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .13, p=.0001; while social-referent athletic identity was not a significant mediator of this relationship (SE = .01, bias corrected 95% CI = -.08 to .08). Neither self-referent (SE = .08, bias corrected 95% CI = -.06 to .24) nor social-referent athletic identity (SE = .06, bias corrected 95% CI = -.05 to . 16) were significant mediators of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and life satisfaction.

Self-referent athletic identity was a significant mediator between external exercise motivation and amount of exercise (SE = .37, bias corrected 95% CI = .14 to 4.16), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .05, p =.0001; while social-referent athletic identity was not (SE = .88, bias corrected 95% CI = .12 to 3.4). Social-referent athletic identity was a significant mediation path between intrinsic exercise motivation and amount of exercise (SE = .92. bias corrected 95% CI = .12 to 3.95), [R.sup.2] for the entire model = .06, p =.0001; whereas self-referent athletic identity was not (SE = .62, bias corrected 95% CI = -.42 to 2.1). Neither social referent (SE = .05, bias corrected 95% CI = -.08 to .12) nor self-referent athletic identity (SE = .03, bias corrected 95% CI = -.05 to .07) were significant mediators between external exercise motivation and negative affect.

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Discussion

The present project investigated the mediating effect of athletic identity on the relationship between exercise motivation and amount of exercise and subjective well-being. Both external and intrinsic exercise motivation were associated with a higher level of total athletic identity and a greater amount of exercise, supporting previous findings (e.g., Anderson, 2004; Lamont-Mills & Christensen, 2006). As predicted on the basis of Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002; 2011), the relationship between external exercise motivation and social-referenced athletic identity was stronger than the relationship between external exercise motivation and self-referenced athletic identity, whereas the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and self-referenced athletic identity was stronger than the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and social-referenced athletic identity. Introjected and identified motivation, which theoretically anchor motivation to the self, along with intrinsic motivation, were also significantly associated with self-referent identity, but not at as high a level as intrinsic motivation.

A higher level of intrinsic exercise motivation was associated with more positive affect and life satisfaction, but was not related to lower negative affect. Identified exercise motivation was also related to more positive affect, but not to lower negative affect. A higher level of external exercise motivation was associated with more negative affect, but was not related to positive affect or life satisfaction. Introjected exercise motivation was also related to more negative affect, and not related to positive affect or life satisfaction. Greater total athletic identity, self-referent athletic identity and social-referent identity were all associated with more life satisfaction and positive affect. Surprisingly all of these facets of athletic identity were also associated with higher levels of negative affect. A possible interpretation of these results is that stronger athletic identity gives rise to more emotion in general. Related to this is the possibility that people with stronger athletic identity have more at stake and thus experience emotion more intensely.

Self-Determination Theory suggests that motivation may provide a foundation for development of other aspects of the individual, such as identity (Ryan & Deci, 2011). The present study found some support for this notion in that total, self-referent and social-referent athletic identity all explained somewhat different possible mediation paths in the relationships between exercise motivation with amount of exercise and subjective well-being. Total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and amount of exercise and the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and life satisfaction. Further, total athletic identity was a significant mediator of the relationship between external exercise motivation and amount of exercise and a significant mediator of the relationship between external exercise motivation and negative affect.

Total athletic identity seems to represent a robust mediation path, representing links between both intrinsic and extrinsic exercise motivation and outcomes. Self-referent athletic identity was a significant mediator in the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and positive affect, while social-referent athletic identity was not a significant mediator of this relationship. The bridging path of self-referent athletic identity between intrinsic motivation and positive affect is congruent with agentic aspects of Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Social-referent athletic identity was a significant mediator in the relationship between external exercise motivation and amount of exercise, while self-referent athletic identity was not. Social-referent athletic identity was also a significant mediation path between intrinsic exercise motivation and amount of exercise, while self-referent athletic identity was not. Social-referent athletic identity seems most relevant as a path between exercise motivation and amount of exercise.

The study employed the subcategories of athletic identity found for athletes with disabilities by Martin and colleagues (Martin, Eklund, & Mushett, 1997; Martin, Mushett & Eklund, 1994). The internal consistency of the subscales of athletic identity was high for the present sample of community individuals and the subscales showed expected relationships with other constructs, suggesting that the subscales identified by Martin and Colleagues may be reliable and valid assessments for individuals without disabilities.

In sum, the findings of the present research are largely congruent with previous research and extend previous research relating to exercise motivation and athletic identity. For example, the current findings are congruent with previous findings regarding intrinsic exercise motivation and greater frequency of exercise (Duncan et al., 2010), and intrinsic exercise motivation and greater psychological well-being (Ng et al., 2012; Sebire et al., 2009). The finding that intrinsic exercise motivation is related to more total athletic identity parallels findings reported by Strachan and colleges (2013) for the relationship between intrinsic exercise motivation and exercise identity. In contrast to the finding of Strachan et al. (2013) that external exercise motivation was not significantly associated with exercise identity, the present findings indicated that extrinsic exercise motivation was significantly associated with total athletic identity, suggesting differences in the possible precursors of exercise identity and athletic identity. The present research presents an additional comprehensive view of the relationship between types of exercise motivation, athletic identity, exercise frequency and well-being outcomes. One of the major contributions of the present study is in providing insight into differential mediating paths represented by different facets of athletic identity.

Some limitations should be considered in interpreting this study. For example, it is unclear whether aspects of identity might develop as a result of exercise motivation, or whether there might be a bi-directional relationship. The concurrent data collection design used in the present research makes it difficult to tease out such bi-directional relationships. Further research with longitudinal designs might investigate the developmental aspect of athletic identity to examine how this aspect of identity forms. Longitudinal research might also examine whether there is reciprocity between exercise motivation and athletic identity such that changes in exercise motivation facilitate development of athletic identity and changes in athletic identity in turn enhance exercise identity. Common method variance may have contributed to some of the associations. Future research might incorporate some observer ratings to avoid common method variance. The present results are based on the responses of a broad community sample drawn from two countries. It is possible that relationships between variables, including mediating effects, may be different for different populations, such as in a sample drawn from among competitive athletes, athletes in career transition, junior athletes, or athletes experiencing injury. Future research could examine such specific populations. These results also lay a foundation for future research examining whether other psychological characteristics explain further mediating pathways. Additional research might examine whether performance variables, such as winning/losing, injury or team cohesion, influence the mediating effects between athletic identity, exercise motivation and psychological outcomes. This could confirm the robust nature of the mediating effects or provide information regarding the specific circumstances under which the mediation occurs. Another avenue of research might build on the present findings by examining the effect of interventions focusing on helping individuals develop different aspects of exercise motivation and athletic identity with the aim of increasing amount of exercise and enhancing psychological well-being.

The results of such interventions may have relevance for a variety of practical applications. Such results in combination with the findings of the present study might inform efforts to build optimally effective sports and exercise programs and to tailor programs for specific populations. For example, intrinsic exercise motivation could be enhanced by careful selection of sports activities congruent with individuals' inclinations. The finding that both extrinsic and intrinsic exercise motivation are associated with total athletic identity might lead to exploration of interventions that attempt to harness both types of motivation simultaneously to boost athletic identity.

In conclusion, the results of the present study support the utility of concepts arising from both Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2002; 2007; 2011) and athletic identity research (Brewer et al, 1993; Martin et al, 1997; Martin et al, 1994). Both exercise motivation and athletic identity were associated with amount of exercise and subjective well-being. The results with a model linking exercise motivation and athletic identity to amount of exercise and well-being.

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Nicola S. Schutte

Dominic G. McNeil

University of New England, Australia

Address correspondence to: Dr Nicola Schutte, email: nschutte@une.edu.au, post: Psychology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
Table 1
Mean Scores and Standard Deviations for Exercise Motivation,
Athletic  Identity, Amount of Exercise, Life Satisfaction,
Positive Affect and  Negative Affect for US (N=200) and
Australian (N=200) Participants

                            Total             US

Exercise Motivation
  External                8.19 (3.79)     8.27 (4.02)
  Introjected             8.02 (3.14)     8.18 (3.27)
  Identified             14.42 (3.53)    14.16 (3.77)
  Intrinsic              13.44 (4.22)    13.07 (4.55)

Athletic Identity
  Total                  26.60 (13.78)    28.05 (14.78)
  Self-Referent           6.06 (3.27)     6.55 (3.58)
  Social-Referent         5.20 (2.97)     5.66 (3.19)

Well-being
  Amount of Exercise    45.83 (108.86)   45.26 (82.71
  Life satisfaction      22.24 (6.82)     22.64 (7.05
  Positive Affect        29.23 (5.97)    29.66 (6.31)
  Negative Affect        15.05 (5.29)    15.16 (5.34)

                          Australia

Exercise Motivation
  External                8.12 (3.53)
  Introjected             7.88 (2.99)
  Identified             14.68 (3.25)
  Intrinsic              13.81 (3.83)

Athletic Identity
  Total                 25.15 (12.57)
  Self-Referent           5.58 (2.85)
  Social-Referent         4.75 (2.66)

Well-being
  Amount of Exercise    46.40 (130.07)
  Life satisfaction      22.06 (6.60)
  Positive Affect        28.80 (5.59)
  Negative Affect        14.93 (5.26)

Table 2
Correlations of Exercise Motivation with Athletic
Identity (AI), Amount of Exercise, Life Satisfaction,
Positive Affect and Negative Affect (N = 400)

                            Self-        Social-
                Total     Referent      Referent     Exercise
Measures          AI         AI            AI         Amount

Exercise
Motivation

 External       .40 **      .22 **        .34 **       .11 *
 Introjected    .39 **      .28 **        .28 **       .09
 Identified     .26 **      .28 **        .20 **       .16 *
 Intrinsic      .40 **      .44 **        .35 **       .17 **

                   Life        Positive    Negative
Measures        Satisfaction    Affect      Affect

Exercise
Motivation

 External          .00         -.05          .31 **
 Introjected      -.07          .02          .23 **
 Identified        .11 *        .25 **       .02
 Intrinsic         .24 **       .31 **       .00

* p = .05, ** p = .01.

Table 3
Correlations of Athletic Identity with Amount of Exercise,
Life Satisfaction, Positive Affect and Negative
Affect (N = 400)

Measures          Exercise      Life        Positive   Negative
                   Amount    Satisfaction    Affect     Affect
Athletic
  Identity
Total             .26 **     .19 **         .19 **     .26 **
Self-Referent     .22 **     .26 **         .30 **     .12 **
Social-Referent   .23 **     .24 **         .24 **     .15 **

* p = .05, ** p = .01.
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Author:Schutte, Nicola S.; McNeil, Dominic G.
Publication:Journal of Sport Behavior
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Date:May 30, 2015
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