Modeling motivation: examining the structural validity of the Sport Motivation Scale-6 among runners
Two models of motivation are prevalent in the literature on sport and exercise participation (Deci & Ryan, 1991; Vallerand, 1997, 2000). Both models are grounded in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) and consider the relationship between intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivation in explaining behavior choice and outcomes. Both models articulate the relationship between need satisfaction (i.e., autonomy, competence, relatedness; Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000) and various cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes as a function of self-determined motivation. Despite these comprehensive models, inconsistencies remain between the theories and their practical applications. The purpose of my study was to examine alternative theoretical models of intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivation using the Sport Motivation Scale-6 (SMS-6; Mallett et al., 2007) to more thoroughly study the structure of motivation and the practical utility of using such a scale to measure motivation among runners. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to evaluate eight alternative models. After finding unsatisfactory fit of these models, exploratory factor analysis was conducted post hoc to further examine the measurement structure of motivation. A three-factor structure of general motivation, external accolades, and isolation/solitude explained motivation best, although high cross-loadings of items suggest the structure of this construct still lacks clarity. Future directions to modify item content and re-examine structure as well as limitations of this study are discussed.