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OBJECTIVE: Köhler motivation gain principles were utilized (based on the group dynamics principles of upward social comparison and indispensability) to explore increasing exercise duration in an obese community sample (mean BMI = 38 kg∙m-2) with a lighter versus same weight virtually-presented interactive exergame partner.
METHODS: Community adults (N = 48; age = 45.3 ± 15.86 years) completed the first block of three isometric abdominal exercises alone. After resting, participants completed the second block either alone (Control), with a lighter weight (LW), or with a same weight partner (SW). Partners were actually confederates recorded earlier and presented virtually as live, from another lab. Exercise persistence, self-efficacy beliefs, enjoyment, perceived exertion, perceptions of one’s own and relative partner ability, and body image were collected.
RESULTS: Mean persistence was greater for participants in the LW (23.2 sec) condition than for those in the Control condition (-12.44 sec; 95% CI: 11.57, 59.3, p < 0.002). Mean persistence was also greater for participants in the SW (21 sec) condition than for those in the Control condition (-12.44 sec; 95% CI: 8.74, 58.14, p < 0.006). Despite persisting longer than Controls, SW participants rated their own ability lower than Controls (p = 0.027). Body image assessment choice correlated with BMI (r =.69), but was not significantly related to persistence.
CONCLUSIONS: The Köhler motivation effect increased persistence with abdominal isometric exercises in obese adults and was not moderated by the relative weight of one’s partner.
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