Exploring Factors That Sustain Younger and Older Recreational Runners


  • Elliot Entin Aptima Inc.
  • Pauline Entin University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


Aging, motivation, running sustainment, reasons to stop running


The present study investigated the differences between younger and older runners in terms of the motivational factors that initiated, sustained, and could potentially end their running. An Internet survey assessed six factors predicted to affect an individual’s adherence to running. The sample of 517 recreational runners was dichotomized by age into younger and older (master) runners. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the factorial models and confirmatory factor analysis substantiated that the models fit their data. As predicted, in part by the work of Ryan, Frederick, Lepes, Rubio, and Sheldon (1997), extrinsic motivation was stronger than intrinsic motivation for younger runners, whereas intrinsic motivation was stronger than extrinsic motivation for master runners. Structural equation modeling indicated self-competition and challenge were predictors of running sustainment for master runners but not for younger runners and interpersonal factors were predictors of adherence to running for younger runners but not master runners. In addition, interpersonal factors appear to mediate the effects of intrinsic motivation on sustainment. Psychological reasons to stop running negatively impacted adherence to running for younger but not for master runners. Results are discussed in the light of previous findings and theories in the exercise motivational literature.

Author Biography

Pauline Entin, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Dean of Arts and Sciences University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


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