|Author||: Kathleen Susan Caffrey|
|Release Date||: 19 October 2021|
|Pages||: 56 pages|
|Rating||: /5 ( users)|
Age-related cognitive decline, including dementia, is an increasingly important public health challenge. Preventative efforts that encourage engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors (e.g., physical, social, and cognitive activity, nutrition) help address this challenge, and it is important to establish effective ways to motivate individuals to incorporate these behaviors into their everyday lives. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a framework for promotion of successful behavior change that suggests autonomous motivation is associated with positive health and behavior outcomes, and research has demonstrated that the probability of achieving sustained behavior change occurs when people are more autonomously motivated. The framework also suggests that fulfillment of three basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, perceived competence, and relatedness) elicit autonomous motivation. Thus, the current study examined whether these key SDT concepts (i.e., the basic psychological needs and autonomous motivation) were associated with engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors among older and younger adults. Results indicated that older adults reported significantly higher perceived competence, relatedness, autonomous motivation, and engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors than younger adults. Path analytic results indicated that, for older adults, there was a significant indirect effect of perceived competence on engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors through autonomous motivation. In contrast, for younger adults, no significant indirect effects were found. Rather, the three basic psychological needs and autonomous motivation independently and significantly predicted engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors for younger adults. The results of this study can inform the development of effective healthy brain aging interventions for individuals across the lifespan.