Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 36–55 | Cite as

Let’s be healthy together: Relational motivation for physical health is more effective for women

  • Jonathan S. Gore
  • Kayla Bowman
  • Chase Grosse
  • Linzy Justice
Original Paper


Four studies examined the role of relationally-autonomous reasons in health behavior (RARHs) and how gender moderates their association with health outcomes. Study 1 (n = 160) involved the development of a measure of RARHs. The results of a factor analysis distinguished RARHs from other types of health reasons. In Study 2, participants (n = 284) completed a survey assessing their relational reasons prior to taking assessments of their body composition and fitness level. In Study 3, participants (n = 577) completed an online survey assessing RARHs, self-construal and health behaviors. The results of Studies 2 and 3 showed that RARHs positively predicted healthy outcomes for females only. In Study 4, participants (n = 72) were asked to complete an online survey, attend an orientation session, keep track of their exercise and nutrition over the course of a week, and attend a follow-up session. The results revealed that having an exercise partner was positively associated with RARHs, and that this in turn predicted reported effort and progress outcomes at the follow-up session for females only. Implications for theories of motivation and gender differences are discussed.


Relationally-autonomous reasons Self-construal Gender differences Health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan S. Gore
    • 1
  • Kayla Bowman
    • 1
  • Chase Grosse
    • 1
  • Linzy Justice
    • 1
  1. 1.Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA

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