Date of Conferral





Public Health


Manoj Sharma


Physical inactivity is a major contributor to chronic diseases, especially coronary heart disease. The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II showed that only 47.4% of college students are meeting suggested physical activity requirements. As the nontraditional student population increases, research is needed to identify motivators and barriers specifically for online graduate students. The purpose of this case study was to examine the relationships of barriers and motivators for physical activity in online graduate students at Walden University. The study addressed research questions on what physical activity barriers existed in this study sample, (b) what intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators towards physical activity existed in the study sample, and (c) what difficulties were present in collecting data from online students. The study was based on the self determination theory (SDT), used to understand the motivation of health behaviors. The Exercise Motivations Inventory-2 instrument was used to understand intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to exercise. The research design was an in-depth illustrative case study of 13 Walden University online graduate students. Questionnaires were posted through the Walden participant pool. The frequencies were tabulated to show that physical barriers were not perceived by most to interfere with physical activity, intrinsic motivators most valued were enjoyment, ill-health avoidance, and stress management, and extrinsic most valued were appearance and weight management. Understanding the motivators and barriers among online students can initiate a positive social change to create more effective programs and opportunities to increase activity rates among online graduate students.

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