Persons with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs) face multiple health barriers that are improved with exercise, but they seldom exercise due to a variety of barriers, of which amotivation is primary. In the current study, we investigated the subjective experiences of persons with SSDs following a formal exercise program. Twenty seven persons with SSDs who had taken part in a 16-week walking program provided feedback during exit interviews. Our purpose was to ascertain whether comments provided evidence of development of intrinsic motivation as defined by Ryan and Deci’s self determination of behavior theory. Our directed content analysis resulted in 5 thematic codes: autonomy, competence, relatedness, health benefits and personal enjoyment. Results highlight the importance of health-related group activities in supporting competence, relatedness and autonomy. Development and testing of interventions to support intrinsic motivation is critical to improving the health of this vulnerable group.
Open Journal of Psychiatry, Vol.2 No.4A(2012), Article ID:24702,6 pages, DOI:10.4236/ojpsych.2012.224045