Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Victoria B. Mitrani

Second Committee Member

Nilda (Nena) Peragallo

Third Committee Member

Doris Ugarriza

Fourth Committee Member

Christine Stevens


Latinas are at risk for not engaging in optimal exercise and are at greater risk than other ethnic groups for being overweight and suffering deleterious health consequences. The current study’s researcher utilizes pedometers, exercise logs, surveys, and participatory photography to determine exercise motivators and barriers to exercise among Latinas. The specific aims of the presented research were to identify predictors of exercise, to investigate the relationship between motivation types, self-determination and acculturation among Latinas, and employ participatory photography methodology to better understand Latina’s exercise motivators and barriers. The methodology included both quantitative and qualitative methods. Exercise motivation types (Amotivation, Extrinsic, Intrinsic) using the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 (BREQ-2), an exercise log and pedometer step counts were collected from 169 Latinas. Acculturation and demographic variables including income, education, and number of children were also collected. Each Latina met with the researcher to complete the BREQ-2, receive her exercise log and pedometers and to return her exercise logs. A sub-sample of 19 Latinas responded to semi-structured questions about exercise and photographed their exercise motivators and barriers. Results showed that the more acculturated to American culture, the fewer steps on average per day were recorded by participants. Demographic variables were not significant predictors of exercise. Motivation type was not found to predict exercise (recorded steps per day). The Intrinsic regulation subscale, ‘I value the benefits of exercise,’ of the BREQ-2 had the highest mean score (m = 3.28, SD = .83). Participants in the qualitative phase of the study defined exercise as physical activities done for the purpose of exercising involving a set of physical and emotional effects. Exercise motivators identified through qualitative semi-structured interviews were classified as either Extrinsic or Intrinsic with the most frequently commented on being the Extrinsic category. Exercise barriers that emerged from the data were classified into a) competing obligations, b) personal limitations, c) environmental limitations, and d) competing diversions. Cultural aspects influencing Latinas’ exercise also emerged from the data classified into the following categories: a) job stress, b) changing family roles, c) fast food availability, and d) transportation. The findings of this study suggest avenues for interventions that are family-centered and culturally-tailored based on education of what constitutes exercise. Exercise motivation is a complex issue for Latinas, and future researchers need to examine the mechanisms of becoming more Americanized that may adversely affect Latinas’ activity levels. The concept and measurement of Identified regulation may need to be revised before its further use among Latinas in addressing the significant health disparity attributable to sub-optimal exercise.


Latinas; exercise; motivators; barriers, participatory photography; BREQ-2