Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Previous literature suggests that autistic individuals engage in physical activity less frequently compared to typically developing peers (Bandini et al., 2013; Jones et al., 2017). This is noteworthy because exercise interventions for autistic individuals have found that engaging in physical activity can improve motor, social, and behavioral skills (Anderson-Hanley et al., 2011; Duffy et al., 2017; Nicholson et al., 2011; Oriel et al., 2011). Thus, the present study seeks to understand what factors may promote physical activity engagement, such as self-determination motivation regulations and body-related self-conscious emotions, in adolescents and young adults with and without autism symptomatology. Participants included 51 adolescents aged 15-17 years old and 139 young adults aged 18-30 years old who self-reported physical activity habits (i.e., frequency, duration, and intensity), and completed measures of autism symptomatology, self-determination motivation regulations, and body-related self-conscious emotions. The study results found that individuals with autism symptomatology engaged in physical activity less frequently, had higher levels of controlled motivation and lower autonomous motivation, and had more proneness to body-related guilt and shame, and less authentic and hubristic pride, compared to individuals without autism symptomatology. Moreover, individuals with more autonomous motivation and proneness to body-related guilt and authentic pride were more likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Future studies should examine the interaction between self-determination regulations and body-related self-conscious emotions on physical activity habits.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.