Personality traits moderate the relationships between psychological needs and enjoyment of physical activity

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One of the most important factors of maintaining regular and long-term physical activity is the enjoyment an individual experiences from engaging in the activity. If basic psychological needs are fulfilled, the likelihood that someone enjoys being physically active increases. However, it is unclear whether the impact of psychological needs is influenced by personality. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate if personality traits (BIG 5) moderate the relationships between basic psychological needs and enjoyment of physical activity. We conducted an online survey with N = 399 participants (M age = 35.82 years). Physical activity enjoyment, basic psychological needs (autonomy, perceived competence, social relatedness), and the BIG 5 were assessed. Analyses show that personality moderates the relationships between psychological needs and enjoyment of physical activity: Extraversion moderates the relationship between social relatedness and enjoyment, conscientiousness and neuroticism moderate the relationship between perceived competence and enjoyment, and agreeableness, but not openness, moderates the relationship between autonomy and enjoyment. Our findings suggest that the BIG 5 play an important role regarding the experience of physical activity enjoyment. Therefore, personality should be considered to design interventions more tailored to individual needs in order to promote enjoyment of physical activity effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102197
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • Big 5, Personality traits, Physical activity enjoyment, Psychological needs
  • Psychology