DOI: 10.4148/2572-1836.1002">

Relationship of self-determination theory constructs and physical activity and diet in a Mexican American population in Nueces County, Texas

Document Type


Publication Date



Health Promotion and Human Performance

Publication Title

Health Behavior Research


Due to disparities in stroke risk among U.S. Hispanics, the need for culturally tailored, theory based effective health behavior change interventions persists. The purpose of this study was to examine self-determination theory (SDT) constructs related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in a predominantly Mexican American population. The Stroke Health and Risk Education (SHARE) project was a cluster-randomized, faith-based behavioral intervention trial that enrolled Mexican Americans (MAs) and non-Hispanic whites (NHWs) from Catholic Churches in Nueces County, Texas. Data regarding SDT constructs and dietary and physical activity behaviors were collected via computer-assisted interviews using standardized instruments at the baseline assessment. Of the 801 subjects who consented, 760 completed baseline interviews. After eliminating cases with missing data, 733 participants (617 MA and 116 NHW) were included in the analyses. Participants were predominantly Mexican American (84%) and female (64%), and had a median age of 53 years. There were no significant ethnic differences in any of the baseline SDT scale scores with the exception of higher autonomous motivation scores for exercise among MAs (7.00 vs. 6.67, p = 0.01). Demographic differences in mean SDT scale scores were identified for sex, age, and income. Perceived competence and autonomous motivation were both significant predictors of diet and physical activity behaviors. This study increases our understanding of SDT constructs relative to diet and physical activity in a large, predominantly Mexican American sample. The results indicate that SDT is an appropriate framework to address CVD behavioral risk factors in a predominantly Hispanic population.

Link to Published Version

DOI: 10.4148/2572-1836.1002