Research Study Abstract

Motivational profiles, accelerometer-derived physical activity, and acute diabetes-related symptoms in adults with type 2 diabetes

  • Published on Apr 2018

Background: Using self-determination theory, the objective of this study was to examine, over a one-month period, how physical activity (PA) motivation would influence accelerometer-derived PA behavior, and ultimately, acute diabetes-related symptoms burden among adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D adults). Using both a person and variable-centered approach, this objective was attained by means of: 1) investigating the indirect effect of PA participation on the relationship between PA motivation and acute diabetes-related symptom burden and 2) examining whether participants who met PA recommendations (i.e., 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous PA per week) would experience less acute diabetes-related symptom burden over a one-month period.

Methods: A two-wave prospective longitudinal design was used. At time 1, participants completed a questionnaire assessing their PA motivation and were asked to wear an ActiGraph GT3X accelerometer for four consecutive weeks. At time 2, they completed a short questionnaire assessing their acute diabetes-related symptoms (i.e., symptoms related to fatigue, cognitive distress, hyperglycemia, and hypoglycemia). The final sample includes 165 adults (89 or 53.61% women) aged from 26 to 75 years (M = 62.05, SD = 8.75) with T2D, which provided at least 21 valid days of accelerometer-derived data.

Results: First, results of a path analysis demonstrated that over a one-month period, the average number of minutes spent practicing moderate to vigorous PA per week mediated the relationship between intrinsic and external PA motivation and the level of burden associated with the following diabetes-related symptoms: fatigue, cognitive distress, and hyperglycemia. In addition, results of covariance analyses showed that participants meeting PA recommendations also reported significantly less burden associated with these three symptoms over a month period. Then, the existence of four motivational profiles (Self-Determined, High Introjected, Low Motivation, and Non-Self-Determined) was confirmed using a k-means analysis. Results of covariance and chi-square analyses further showed, respectively, that compared to other motivational profiles, the Self-Determined profile was associated with a higher score on weekly PA participation and meeting PA recommendations.

Conclusions: The results highlight the importance of promoting autonomous motives for PA participation among T2D adults. They also suggest that T2D adults meeting PA recommendations experience less acute diabetes-related symptoms burden, which further support the importance of their PA motivation.


  • Alexandre Castonguay 1
  • Paule Miquelon 1


  • 1

    Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351, boul. des Forges, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada


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