Comparison of American and Chinese College Students' Reasons for Exercise, Exercise Enjoyment and Self-Efficacy

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences


Korea Sport Science Institute

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Background. People exercise for different reasons. Reasons for exercise may influence exercise behavior via influencing important psychological factors of habitual exercisers, exercise enjoyment, and self-efficacy. The aim of this study was to explore how different reasons for exercise are associated with exercise enjoyment aid self-efficacy by males and females from differing cultural backgrounds. Method. Undergraduate students from a midwest university in the United States (males = 42, females = 171, age M = 21.68 years) and a national university in China (males = 64, aid females = 149, age M = 21.47 years) participated in the study. Reasons for exercise, exercise enjoyment, aid exercise self-efficacy were measured by questionnaire. Results. Individuals who exercised for non-appearance based reasons reported higher levels of exercise enjoyment compared to students who exercised for appearance based reasons, and this finding was irrespective of cultural background or gender. Women who exercised for mood alteration reasons reported higher self-efficacy compared to women who exercised for other reasons. In addition, gender and cultural differences were related to reasons for exercise and self-efficacy. Conclusion. Understanding exercise participants' reasons for exercise and how these relate to their exercise enjoyment and self-efficacy may help to foster greater rates of physical activity participation.