Hellenic Journal of Psychology 
 Psychological Society of Northern Greece


SSN 1790-1391

Edited three times a year by the Psychological Society of Northern Greece (PSNG)
Volume 6, Issue 2, 2009

Legally responsible:
George Grouios, President of the Psychological Society of Northern Greece
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece. Phone: +30-2310-992177; E-mail: ggrouios@phed.auth.gr

Editor-in-Chief:  Anastasia Efklides Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Associate Editors: Maria Dikaiou
Angeliki Leondari
Georgios D. Sideridis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece
Assistant Editors: Irini Dermitzaki
Mary H. Kosmidis
Filippos Vlachos
Plousia Misailidi
Pagona Roussi
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
University of Ioannina, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Guest Editor of the Special Issue Symeon P. Vlachopoulos Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Editorial Board

Anastasia Efklides
George Grouios
Shulamith Kreitler
Diomedes Markoulis
Robert Neimeyer
Markku Niemivirta
Jose M. Prieto
Wolfgang Schnotz 
Yannis Theodorakis
Maria Tzouriadou
Marja Vauras
Marcel Veenman
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Memphis, USA
University of Helsinki, Finland
Complutense University, Madrid, Spain
University of Koblenz-Landau, Landau, Germany
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
University of Turku, Finland
University of Leiden, The Netherlands

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Copyright 2009: Psychological Society of Northern Greece (PSNG)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) for commercial purposes without the written permission of the copyright owners. Manuscripts submitted to the journal in no case are returned back

Volume 6, Issue 2, 2009    

Founded 2004



uest Editor: Symeon P. Vlachopoulos











           Symeon P. Vlachopoulos .........................................................................................VII

Self-determination theory and physical activity:
The dynamics of motivation in development and wellness
           Richard M. Ryan, Geoffrey C. Williams, Heather Patrick,
           & Edward L. Deci

Affective consequences of imposing the intensity of physical activity:
Does the loss of perceived autonomy matter?
          Spiridoula Vazou Ekkekakis & Panteleimon Ekkekakis..........................................125

Subjective psychological distress among young adults:
The role of global and contextual levels of self-determined motivation
         Étienne Julien, Frédéric Guay, Caroline Senécal,
         & Sarah-Caroline Poitras.........

The role of perceived psychological need satisfaction in exercise-related affect
         Philip M. Wilson, Diane E. Mack, Chris M. Blanchard,
         & Casey E. Gray

Psychological needs and subjective vitality in exercise:
A cross-gender situational test of the needs universality hypothesis

        Symeon P. Vlachopoulos & Eleni Karavani.................................207

Comparing self-determination and body image between excessive
and healthy exercisers
        Michelle S. Fortier & Robin J. Farrell .....................223


Hellenic Journal of Psychology, Vol. 6 (2009), pp. vii-x



Symeon P. Vlachopoulos
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece



The promotion of both physical and psychological health has been valued goal for health and medical authorities world-wide. According to reports of the World Health Organization physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for chronic diseases and is estimated to account for about 600,000 deaths per year in the WHO European region; at the same time promotion of physical activity is one of the most cost-effective tools for prevention of public health problems as it reduces conditions of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and contributes to mental well-being (Cavill, Kahlmeier, & Racioppi, 2006). The fact that the two thirds of individuals older than 15 years do not reach the recommended levels of physical activity (Cavill et al., 2006) in conjunction with the health problems attributed to physical inactivity have led to a growing body of academic literature on the psychological dynamics of physical activity participation and mental health (Biddle, Fox, & Boutcher, 2000; Biddle & Mutrie, 2007; Faulkner & Taylor, 2005).
The research presented in this special issue entitled Self-determination Theory, Physical Activity, and Well-being has been informed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT: Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2007). SDT is a framework of personality, motivation, and well-being developed to describe and explain individual differences not only on the strength but also the quality of motivated behavior and individuals psychological experience. Using concepts such as the quality of motivational forces that regulate human action, innate and universal psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and taking into account both personality and the motivational power of the perceptions of the social environment SDT represents a holistic approach to the explanation and prediction of motivated human behavior and experience. Therefore, SDT has been considered an appropriate framework to apply to the study of motivated physical activity behavior and psychological well-being.
In this special issue, SDT research is introduced by Richard Ryan, Geoffrey Williams, Heather Patrick, and Edward Deci who provide an overview of the theory describing and explaining the frameworks application to the study of development and wellness in the context of physical activity. As far as the research studies are concerned, Spyridoula Vazou-Ekkekakis and Panteleimon Ekkekakis (this issue) examined the effect of imposing to exercise-participants the exercise intensity on mediators and consequences of physical activity when the level of exercise intensity was equal to the self-selected level. They demonstrated that such a reduction to the participants perceptions of autonomy and choice attenuated increases in energy and levels of enjoyment/interest and such effects could not be accounted for by differences in intensity, perceived competence, or self-efficacy. That is, the loss of perceived autonomy in ones exercise intensity negatively impacted affect.
Étienne Julien, Frédéric Guay, Caroline Senécal, and Sarah-Caroline Poitras (this issue) examined in a five-year prospective study the linkage between levels of self-determined motivation and individuals psychological distress comparing two theoretical perspectives differing on the level of generality at which self-determined motivation was assessed. They demonstrated that context-specific self-determined motivation was more negatively related to subjective psychological distress compared to global self-determined motivation (viewed as a trait) and concluded that subjective psychological distress is more strongly influenced by the self-determination experienced within individuals significant areas of their life.
David Markland (this issue) studied the motivational explanation of the negative relationship between perceived body size discrepancies from ideal and physical activity participation demonstrating that larger body-size discrepancies are related to decreased feelings that exercise is a valued and enjoyable activity. This decrease in enjoyment led, in its turn, to less physical activity participation, thus, highlighting the importance of promoting self-determined motivation for increased physical activity and feelings of well-being.
Also, recognizing the importance of the promotion of positive affective experiences in exercise and a need to better understand their determinants Philip Wilson, Diane Mack, Chris Blanchard, and Casey Gray (this issue) studied the role of psychological need fulfillment in the promotion of positive affective experiences among exercise participants. They demonstrated that the fulfillment of the needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness contributed to increased positive well-being and reduced psychological distress in Study 1 and to increased positive affect and reduced negative affect in Study 2, highlighting the need for exercise-instructing practices that maximize the fulfillment of these needs.
In a similar fashion and building on the previous study, Symeon Vlachopoulos and Eleni Karavani (this issue) demonstrated that the perceptions of autonomy-supportive exercise-instructing behaviors were positively related to the fulfillment of the needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness among Greek-speaking exercise participants. They also showed that the need for competence mediated the relationship of perceived autonomy support with levels of subjective vitality. Their findings provided support for the theorys tenets in a cultural context outside the North American boundaries and in line with findings by Wilson et al. (this issue), for the equivalence of this mediational mechanism across gender in support of the needs universality hypothesis.
Moreover, Michelle Fortier and Robin Farrell (this issue) examined the role of behavioral regulations in the phenomenon of exercise dependency by comparing excessive and healthy exercise participants on the type of regulations activating their exercise behavior. Their quantitative results showed that the excessive exercisers adopted stronger both introjected regulation and self-determined motives whereas no differences emerged for body image scores. Qualitative findings, however, revealed that body image does influence exercise behavior opening new research avenues to the investigation of the phenomenon of exercise dependence.
To conclude this editorial, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the individuals who (through their autonomy-supportive supervision) inspired my interest and enthusiasm on the study of this important area of research, Professors Stuart Biddle and Kenneth Fox. Also, I would like to thank the members of the SDT society who contributed their research manuscripts for this special issue and especially the founding fathers of the theory Edward Deci and Richard Ryan as well as the individuals who made time out of their busy schedules to serve as reviewers for the manuscripts. Last but not least, I would like to thank Professor Anastasia Efklides, the Editor-in-Chief of the Hellenic Journal of Psychology, who provided me with the opportunity to undertake the editorial role for this special issue and for her meticulous editorial efforts on the final form of the published manuscripts. I hope that this special issue contributes an even greater boost to the study of SDT in the context of this important health behavior.




          Biddle, S. J. H., Fox, K. R., & Boutcher, S. H. (Eds.). (2000). Physical activity and psychological well-being. London: Routledge.
          Biddle, S. J. H., & Mutrie, N. (2007). Psychology of physical activity: Determinants, well-being and interventions (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
          Cavill, N., Kahlmeier, S., & Racioppi, F. (Eds.). (2006). Physical activity and health in Europe: Evidence for action. Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. Retrieved June 16, 2008, from http://www.euro.who.int/document/e89490.pdf
          Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
          Faulkner, G. E. J., & Taylor, A. H. (2005). Exercise, health and mental health: Emerging relationships. London: Routledge.
          Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
          Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2007). Active human nature: Self-determination theory and the promotion and maintenance of sport, exercise, and health. In M. S. Hagger & N. L. D. Chatzisarantis (Eds.),  Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in exercise and sport (pp. 1-19). Leeds, UK: Human Kinetics Europe.

Address: Symeon Vlachopoulos, Laboratory of Social Research on Physical Activity, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science at Serres, Aghios Ioannis, 621 10 Serres, Greece. Phone: +30-2310-991045. E-mail: vlachop@phed-sr.auth.gr