Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

J. James Cotter, PhD

Second Advisor

Diane Dodd-McCue, DBA

Third Advisor

Amy Huebschmann, MD

Fourth Advisor

Tracey Gendron, PhD


BACKGROUND: Research has established the positive link between physical activity and its impact on health among adults. Generally, as people get older, they are less likely to be active. Black women comprise 13% of the women in the US but constitute 52% of women who are inactive. Existing articles on exercise motivation among Black women have generally assessed sedentary individuals. Little research has examined the motivations to exercise among physically active Black women. METHODS: Guided by the regulators of the Self Determination Theory, the 56 item Motivations of Marathoners Scales for Triathletes (MOMS-T) was used to assess the motives of (N =121) midlife to older Black women (36+) and then transformed into a semi structured guide to interview (n =12) women to further understand their motives for participating in triathlons.

RESULTS: Univariate and two way analysis reveals age as a predictor for the four regulators (external, introjection, integration and intrinsic) but BMI and distance are not. Integration demonstrated the highest mean. Qualitative results indicated that construct of self competition and receiving medals are important aspects of participation but are not measured in the survey. A new scale, triathlete lifestyle, should be considered within the MOMS-T. CONCLUSION: Findings were representative of the study population and comparable to previous studies. The survey transformation of the MOMS-T into an interview guide provided additional qualitative explanations of the survey answers demonstrating a secondary method of gathering data as important to provide further understanding about constructs not measured in the survey form of the MOMS-T.


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