Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Shane Cotter




management, exercise, appearance, fitness, health


The major question being asked in this study is “what motivates individuals to exercise?” Today’s society emphasizes being physically fit and being thin and attractive. This study focuses in on five categories of motivation: fitness and health management, appearance and weight management, stress and mood management, socializing, and other. In this study, 59 participants were given a packet of four questionnaires, which included a Background Questionnaire, the Reasons for Exercise Inventory (Silberstein et al, 1988), the Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder, 1974), and the Self Objectification Questionnaire (Noll & Frederickson, 1998). Participants completed these questionnaires and then the results from these questionnaires were investigated to help answer the larger question of what motivates individuals to exercise and what these motivations mean concerning who they are as an individual. It is hypothesized that the top two motivating factors to exercise are fitness and health management and appearance and weight management. As a way to gain more information about these different motivations and to investigate the possible ramifications of different motivations, differences in level of athletic involvement and gender differences were also examined. It is hypothesized that more athletes than non-athletes will be motivated to exercise because of fitness and health management concerns, and that more females than males will be motivated to exercise because of appearance and weight management concerns.