Open Access

Motivation for Physical Activity and Mental Health Indicators in Male Gym Attendees


The significance of physical activity for mental well-being has been discussed in detail in the literature on the subject. However, a question arises concerning the relationship between motivation to exercise and psychological functioning. The objective of the present study was to test the relationship between the types of motivation for physical activity and selected indicators of mental health.

The study involved 99 men aged between 18 and 60 years old (M=28.20, SD=9.35) who were regular attendees at several gyms in Warsaw. The study used the following methods: the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), developed by Goldberg, the Gym Attendance Motivation Inventory, developed by Awruk and Janowski, and the Personal Data Sheet.

A significant negative relationship between intrinsic motivation (to improve one’s physical performance) and symptoms of depression was observed. Significant positive associations were found between the period of training and scores on the Social dysfunction and Somatic symptoms subscales of GHQ-28. The remaining associations were found to be statistically insignificant. In addition, there were no significant differences in motivation to exercise between men with low and high levels of mental health symptoms. The motivational profiles identified in cluster analysis did not differentiate the subjects with respect to mental health indicators.