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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Health Education

First Advisor

Nathan McCaughtry


Background: Physical activity (PA) levels of adults are low, and workplaces have been identified as an ideal place to promote PA. Participation in workplace programs continues to be low. Self Determination Theory (SDT) has been used to guide both PA and workplace research, but not both together. Culture has been linked to workplace behaviors, but not PA behavior. The purpose of this study was to test SDT and examine if employee perceptions of the workplace PA culture have statistically significant effects on PA behavior and PA attitudes, as mediated by the three basic psychological needs. Methods: Both salaried (N= 237) and hourly (N=309) employees who have access to PA resources, completed an online survey with SDT, culture, PA behavior and PA attitude variables. SEM was used to analyze the results. Results: The hypothesized measurement model had an overall good fit (CFI=.91, TLI=.90 RMSEA=.05, SRMR=.04). Several structural models were tested, with the final model having a good fit (CFI=.92, TLI=.92, RMSEA=.04, SRMR=.04) . Only 7 paths were significant: from leisure PA to PA importance (b=.53, SE=.05, p<.000); from work PA to autonomy needs (b=1.06, SE=.18, p<.01), descriptive norms (b=.17, SE=.05, p<.01), and competence needs (b=1.06, SE=.18, p<.01); and from PA attitude to PA importance (b=.62, SE-.05, p<.000), social support (b=.08, SE=.04, p<.05), and injunctive norms (b=.23, SE=.05, p<.000). Conclusions: SDT variables did not indirectly influence PA outcomes through need satisfaction. The participants in this sample meet CDC PA requirements, value PA, have PA as a high priority and see the benefits of PA. They feel confident in their capabilities, but do not feel supported in participating in PA at work, and feel their employer does not hold PA in the highest regard. Needs assessments, including the assessment of workplace health behavior culture, should be utilized before the implementation of workplace wellness initiatives.

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