Does motivational regulation affect physical activity patterns among Norwegian Police University College students?

DOI10.1177/14613557211027189
Date01 December 2021
Published date01 December 2021
Article
Does motivational regulation affect physical
activity patterns among Norwegian Police
University College students?
Ole Ragnar Norheim Jenssen
The Norwegian Police University College, Norway
Thomas Dillern
The Norwegian Police University College, Norway
Abstract
Physical readiness is important for operative police officers to cope with occupational tasks. Despite this, physical activity
and physical fitness among police officers decrease throughout their occupational career. Self-determination theory (SDT)
is a major theoretical approach in motivation research for sports and physical activity. SDT describes types of motivation
and motivational regulation and how they are related to physical activity and physical activity adherence. This study aims to
explore whether there is a relationship between motivation and the physical activity level of future police officers. The
study was based on a survey design, including two questionnaires: Motives for Physical Activities Measure – Revised,
measuring motivational regulation; and International Physical Activity Questionnaire – short form, measuring physical
activity. Two hundred and fifty-eight students at the Norwegian Police University College (NPUC) participated in the
study. Our results revealed that motivational regulation, especially intrinsic and integrated regulation, significantly
predicted physical activity among NPUC students. Our findings support the basics of SDT, and how it is related to
physical activity patterns and physical activity adherence. When discussing physical training and physical readiness, and to
understand the reduction in physical activity and fitness among police officers, one cannot neglect the importance of
exploring and understanding the motivation for physical activity among police officers. Educational institutions like the
NPUC have an important role in securing minimum levels of physical fitness when graduating students, but even more
importantly they can have a central part in nurturing intrinsic motivation for physical activity for the future police officers,
which facilitates physical activity adherence throughout their policing career.
Keywords
Physical readiness, policing, occupational demands, self-determination theory, fitness
Submitted 09 Jun 2020, Revise received 06 May 2021, accepted 03 Jun 2021
Introduction
Physical demands and physical fitness in policing
Today’s policingis dominated by sedentary work (Lagestad,
2012) such as office tasks, interrogation and traffic patrols.
However, especially in operative police work, the sedentary
nature of the work is interrupted by physical tasks. The
physical tasks that police officers perform most frequently
have been identified as jumping, crawling, balancing,
climbing, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, dragging and
use of force/fighting (Bonneau and Brown, 1995; Hoffman
and Collingwood, 2015). Some of the tasks are performed
daily, such as carryingpersonal gear when on foot patrol, or
Corresponding author:
Ole Ragnar Norheim Jenssen, Universitetsalleen 1, The Norwegian Police
University College, 8026 Bodø, Norway.
Email: olejen@phs.no
International Journalof
Police Science & Management
ªThe Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
sagepub.com/journals-permissions
DOI: 10.1177/14613557211027189
journals.sagepub.com/home/psm
2021, Vol. 23(4) 406–416

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