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

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Directors of the Osteofit program served a gatekeeper role in the recruitment phase of this study and had no direct input into the research questions investigated or the manner in which the data were analysed and reported within this study.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Diane E. Mack.

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Mack, D.E., Gunnell, K.E., Wilson, P.M. et al. Well-Being in Group-Based Exercise Classes: Do Psychological Need Fulfillment and Interpersonal Supports Matter?. Applied Research Quality Life 12, 89–102 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-016-9454-y

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Keywords

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