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Title: The relationship between emotional intelligence, social comparison and motivation to engage in physical activity in a school aged sample
Author: Porter, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 6614
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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Objective. The World Health Organisation (2010) has expressed major health concerns over rising obesity rates, however only a third of young people in the UK currently meet national physical activity (PA) guidelines. Current health-promotion initiatives appear mostly ineffective in tackling this issue, highlighting the need for research to focus on factors that facilitate and sustain participation in PA. This study therefore explores the relationship between the various factors that have been seen to predict PA, including emotional intelligence (El), social comparison and motivation, and considers how its findings could inform future policy concerning the promotion of healthier lifestyles in young people. Design. A cross-sectional questionnaire design was employed to measure El, social comparison, motivation to participate in PA and frequency of PA. 84 males and 123 females between the ages of 14-15 were recruited from a state comprehensive school to complete the questionnaire. Results. Analysis showed positive correlations between El and frequency of PA in both genders; intrinsic motivation was found to mediate this relationship. El was also positively correlated with intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in both genders; however the association was stronger between El and intrinsic motivation. Although further correlations were found between El, social comparison and type of motivation, further analysis suggests that these findings may be less robust. Conclusions / Implications. Together, the study’s findings tentatively support the role of El and social comparison in influencing an individual’s participatory motivations, which in turn, may impact the adoption of, and sustained engagement in, PA. The implications of this in relation to the development of more effective health-promotion are discussed. Keywords: Emotional Intelligence; Physical activity; Intrinsic motivation; Mediator; Social comparison; Adolescents. This empirical paper is planned for submission to the journal of Psychology of Sport and Exercise which has published a number of studies investigating factors that affect participation in physical activity by young people, such as motivation, personality and gender.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available