Self-evaluated satisfaction or dissatisfaction may also be influential in predicting behavior. Individuals carrying out various behaviors will measure their performance relative to pre-established standards, whether internally or internally. How satisfied or dissatisfied an individual is with how they measure up to those expectations will influence their determination to continue the behavior. Particularly, satisfaction with meeting physiological and psychological standards is important in how the individual perceives him/herself.
This concept is thus important in understanding adherence to physical activity requirements (Netz & Raviv, 2004). Social comparison theory suggests that humans by nature tend to compare themselves to others to varying degrees in all aspects of life (Festinger, 1954 as cited in Kilpatrick, Bartholemew & Reimer, 2003). Two underlying concepts of social comparison theory are self-improvement and self-enhancement. In self-improvements individuals compare themselves to persons more accomplished and skilled than they while in self-enhancement the comparison is with lesser skilled and accomplished individuals.
Individuals therefore either protect or enhance their self-esteem under these concepts (Kilpatrick et al. , 2003). These concepts are related to the much larger concept of ego-orientation. Since these concepts are felt to be applicable to all aspects of life it is reasonable to assume that they may be applied to participation in physical activity. Since the theory of social comparison suggests that ego orientation could determine involvement in physical activity it is further assumed that this theory can explain why men and women participate in physical activity to varying degrees.
Research has shown that males tend to be more ego-oriented than females. According to Kilpatrick et al. (2003) males on average have a greater ego orientation than females. Females, however, are more task-oriented than males (Li, Harmer & Acock, 1996). A further observation is that for both females and males who are involved in exercise, as a form of physical activity, and where this is exercise is related to some competitive activity, that both males and females have a greater ego-orientation in these activities that those who simply engage in physical activity for leisure.
Thus this may help to explain why males are more involved in LTPA than females. The third theory, SDT also attempts to explain individual motivation to participation in specific behaviors. The general tenets of the theory are that individuals will carry out behaves to the extent that they meet their psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. Autonomy refers to the feeling of self-control or power over ones own affairs.
Competence refers to the confidence individuals have in their ability and mastery at tasks. Relatedness involves a sense of ownership or belonging. The theory postulates that individuals participate in an exercise program to the extent they believe that they have autonomy over their actions, that they possess the right skills to complete it and that they attach negative social connections to the physical activity (Mears & Kilpatrick, 2008).
Bailis, Fleming and Segall (2005) conclude that involvement in physical activity among any group of individuals, especially females, is significant linked to the internal motivations to participate in the required behavior. Whether those motivations are understood using the theoretical frameworks of social comparison theory, social cognition theory or self development theory the issues all amount to the same thing, internal and external motivating factors will have an impact on the decision of women to participate in physical activity.
While these theoretical underpinnings allow a greater understanding of the potential tendencies to physical activity empirical research has also substantiated some of these theoretical assumptions. Viira and Raudsepp (2008) found that task orientation, effort and ability were the most significant predictors of male involvement in physical activity. This goes against one of the tenets of social comparison theory. For females however enjoyment and cooperation were significant predictors of their involvement in LTPA. For females these two factors influenced the intensity of exercise.