Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 89–102 | Cite as

Well-Being in Group-Based Exercise Classes: Do Psychological Need Fulfillment and Interpersonal Supports Matter?

  • Diane E. MackEmail author
  • Katie E. Gunnell
  • Philip M. Wilson
  • Colin Wierts


Deci and Ryan (2002) posit the importance of three sources of interpersonal support processes that when fostered authentically enhances psychological need fulfillment and well-being. Guided by Deci and Ryan’s (2002) contentions, the purpose of the study was to determine if interpersonal supports provided by exercise instructors was associated with well-being via the satisfaction of basic psychological needs in persons living with osteoporosis. Using a non-experimental research design, participants (N = 280) completed a self-report instrument at the mid-point of a 10 week structured OsteoFit exercise class. Results generally supported Deci and Ryan’s (2002) hypothesized sequence. Interpersonal supports demonstrated a pattern of small-to-moderate correlations with psychological need fulfillment (r 12 s ranged from .37 to .47) and well-being (r 12 s ranged from −.07 to .26). Multiple mediation analysis revealed that variance in psychological need satisfaction (R2 = 0.14 to 0.22) and markers of well-being (R2 = 0.03 to 0.32) was explained by the proposed model. This investigation provides support for the role of interpersonal supports in a clinical population where sustained and regular exercise is associated with physical and psychological health consequences. The importance of creating supportive environments within OsteoFit classes to optimize effects on well-being is highlighted.


Self-determination theory Basic psychological needs theory Well-being Osteoporosis Perceived interpersonal supports 



Diane E. Mack and Philip M. Wilson are with the Centre for Bone and Muscle Health at Brock University. The authors thank Jenna D. Gilchrist for her assistance with data collection. We are grateful to the participants who willingly gave their time and The British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre OsteoFit program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane E. Mack
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katie E. Gunnell
    • 2
  • Philip M. Wilson
    • 1
  • Colin Wierts
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology, Behavioural Health Sciences Research Lab, Faculty of Applied Health SciencesBrock UniversitySt CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Applied Health SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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