Effects of Sex, Race, and Age on College Students’ Exercise Motivation of Physical Activity

T. Egli
Helen W. Bland, Georgia Southern University
Bridget F. Melton, Georgia Southern University
D. R. Czech


Objective: The authors examined differences in exercise motivation between age, sex, and race for college students.

Participants: Students from 156 sections of physical activity classes at a midsize university were recruited (n = 2,199; 1,081 men, 1,118 women) in 2005–2006 and volunteered to complete the Exercise Motivation Inventory.

Methods: Quantitative, cross-sectional descriptive research design was employed.

Results: Significant differences were found in 3 of 14 exercise motivational subscales by age (affiliation, health pressures, and ill health avoidance) (p< .05). Males were motivated by intrinsic factors (strength, competition, and challenge) (p < .05) and females by extrinsic factors (ie, weight management and appearance) (p < .05); only 2 subscales proved not to be significant by sex. Race differences provided 8 significant differences by exercise motivations (p < .05).

Conclusions: Significant differences for exercise motivations in college-aged population by demographics were documented. Understanding these differences is important for college health professionals for programming strategies and promoting physical activity.