T. Isaac White, Bhibha M. Das, FACSM. East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

INTRODUCTION: Approximately 33% of undergraduates do not meet physical activity (PA) and public health guidelines and thus may not experience the benefits of PA. Research indicates higher levels of intrinsic motivation, addressed within the framework of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), predicts greater levels of adherence to PA. Course-based PA interventions using SDT may facilitate intrinsic motivation among undergraduates. Global health events have led universities to increase use of online, distance education (DE), courses. DE courses are also a tool for non-traditional students, over 30 years, to earn a degree. DE course-based interventions have been shown to effectively promote PA. Research on the need to modify DE PA course-based interventions based on student ages is limited. The aim of the analysis was to assess motivational differences between non-traditional and traditional DE students in a PA course-based intervention. METHODS: Students in a 16-week DE PA course-based intervention completed an online survey as part of an ongoing research project. Measurements included the BREQ-3 and the MPAM-R. BREQ-3 scores are from 0 to 4 while MPAM-R scores are from 1 to 7, higher scores indicate higher levels of motivation. RESULTS: Participants (N=11; 63.6% White) ranged in age from 20 to 47 (30.8±9.7) years, 54.5% were employed full-time. Non-traditional students (n=6) were 37.9±6.9 years, traditional students (n=5) were 22.2±2.2 years. Traditional and non-traditional students scored highest on the MPAM-R appearance subscale (6.3±0.5,39±1.2, respectively). The BREQ-3 Identified Regulation subscale scored the highest among traditional and non-traditional students (3.5±0.6,2.5±0.9, respectively). No significant differences were observed at a p-value of 0.05; to examine potential differences present, the p-value was expanded to 0.10. A significant difference was observed (p=0.08) for Identified Regulation. The subscale of Introjected Regulation came close to reaching significance (p=0.11). No additional significant differences were observed. CONCLUSION: Results indicate there may not be a difference between traditional and non-traditional DE students’ reasons for engaging in PA. It may not be necessary to modify DE course-based PA intervention based on ages of participants. Further research, with a larger sample, on the motivation behind PA behaviors of traditional and non-traditional DE students is warranted.

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