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A Model of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations on Subjective Well-Being: The Experience of Overnight Visitors to a National Park

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  A Model of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivationson Subjective Well-Being: The Experienceof Overnight Visitors to a National Park  Francesca Cini  &  Stefan Kruger  &  Suria Ellis Received: 14 November 2011 /Accepted: 18 May 2012 / Published online: 4 June 2012 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V./ The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2012 Abstract  According to the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci and Ryan 1985),intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can be differentiated with levels along a continuumrepresenting distinct self-regulatory styles for behavior. Behavioral regulations con-sider different degrees to which they represent autonomous or self-determined func-tioning and specifically intrinsic motivations are characterized by the highest level of self-determination. Past research into the SDT has highlighted correlations betweenreasons with high levels of autonomy or self-determination for engaging in a partic-ular behavior and enhanced Subjective Well-Being (SWB), as well as positive behavioral outcomes. Little is known about the relationship between visitors ’  reasonsfor visiting a national park, associated self-regulatory styles and their self-appraisalsof SWB. Therefore, the present research investigates the relationship between intrin-sic and extrinsic motivations for visiting the Kruger National Park (KNP), associatedself-regulatory styles and self-evaluations of SWB among 389 overnight visitors. Astructural equation model (SEM) is proposed to examine both the cognitive (lifesatisfaction) and affective (positive and negative feelings) components of SWB inassociation to motivations with different degrees of self-determination. Reflecting previous research, the results show that overnight visitors who are more intrinsicallymotivated have higher life satisfaction levels, higher positive feelings and lower negative feelings. In contrast, overnight visitors who are less intrinsically motivated Applied Research Quality Life (2013) 8:45  –  61DOI 10.1007/s11482-012-9173-yF. Cini ( * ) :  S. Kruger  North-West University Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom, South Africa 2520e-mail: S. Kruger e-mail: S. EllisStatistical Consultation Services, North-West University Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001,Potchefstroom, South Africa 2520e-mail:   have lower life satisfaction levels, lower positive feelings and higher negative feeling.The practical implications of these findings are highlighted. Keywords  Intrinsic andextrinsicmotivations.Self-regulatorystyles .Subjectivewell-being. Nationalparks.Structuralequationmodel Introduction The positive effects of leisure activities on people ’ s physical and mental well-beingare well documented (Adams et al. 2010; Brown et al. 1991; Caldwell 2005; Caltabiano 1995; Crompton 1979; Godbey 1999, 2009; Iso-Ahola and Park  1995; Iwasaki 2001, 2002; Iwasaki et al. 2005; Kelley-Gillespie 2009; Smale and Dupuis 1993; Wheeler and Frank  1988). In leisure studies, holiday taking is significantly related to enhanced sub- jective well-being (SWB) or quality of life (QoL) (Gilbert and Abdullah 2004;McConkey and Adams 2000; Hazel 2005; Neal et al. 2004), defined as one ’ s long-term global experience in terms of positive reactions to life (Sirgy 2010; Diener 2009). As people with high levels of SWB or QoL display pro-social behaviors (e.g.altruism, morality and social ability), which contribute significantly to bothsocial and societal development (Sirgy 2002, 2010; Veenhoven 1991), SWB should be promoted.The leisure activity of taking a holiday provides opportunities for self-determined behaviors, that exist when people freely choose to engage in activity out of a sense of interest, because of the enjoyment of the activity itself (e.g. Deci and Ryan 1985;Ryan and Deci 2000), which is important for coping with stress and enhancing well- being. According to the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci and Ryan 1985),intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can be differentiated with levels along a continuumrepresenting distinct self-regulatory styles for behavior. Behavioral regulations con-sider different degrees to which they represent autonomous or self-determined func-tioning and specifically intrinsic motivations are characterized by the highest level of self-determination. Past research into the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) hashighlighted (Deci and Ryan 1985) correlations between autonomous reasons for engaging in a particular behavior and enhanced well-being, as well as positive behavioral outcomes (e.g. Burton et al. 2006; Reis et al. 2000; Ryan and Deci 2000); therefore, when engaging in holiday-taking behaviors, high levels of self-determination are possibly associated to enhanced SWB (Ryan and Deci 2000). Nature-based tourism in national parks emerges as particularly appropriate in providing opportunities for self-determined behaviors. Reviewing the literature(Eagles and McCool 2002; Kim et al. 2003; Loker-Murphy 1996; Uysal et al. 1994), the main reasons for visiting national parks show high levels of self-determination in terms of freely performing the visit because it is inherently interest-ing ( “ to enjoy the wilderness, ” “ to enjoy the beauty of the natural environment  ” ) and because visitors consider and identify with the personal importance of the visit ( “ toescape from my daily routine, ” “ to put myself to the test, ” “ to build relationships ”  and “ to learn new things about nature and wildlife ” ). The latter case still entails personalendorsement and a feeling of choice but the behavior is not performed for the 46 F. Cini et al.  enjoyment of the activity itself but rather for a separable outcome (it is consideredvaluable for the self).However, despite the importance of enhancing SWB among people, the theory andresearch related to nature-based holidays and tourists ’  subjective well-being arelimited. This is especially the case for the relationship between tourists ’  reasons for visiting national parks, associated self-regulatory styles and enhanced SWB.Therefore, this research is aimed at investigating the relationship between intrinsic andextrinsic reasons for visiting the world-renowned KNP in South Africa, associated self-regulatory styles, and SWB ’ s self-evaluations among a sample of visitors to the Park.Established in 1898, the KNP offers a wildlife experience that is ranked one of the best in Africa. It is the largest game reserve in South Africa, covering nearly twomillion hectares, stretches 350 km along the Mozambican Border and is on average60 km wide. The KNP is unrivalled in its diversity of species and is recognized as theleader in environmental management techniques and policies ( The Relationship Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Reasons for Visitinga National Park, Associated Self-Regulatory Styles and SWB In Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan 1985), two main types of motivationshave been distinguished: intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Intrinsic motivations refer to doing something inherently interesting, while extrinsic motivations refer to doingsomething because of an outcome that is separable from the activity itself. On the basisof much research (see Vallerand 1997), refined conceptualizations developed a modelof the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Ryan and Deci 2000), with levels along a continuum representing distinct self-regulatory styles for behavior, ranging from non-regulation to intrinsic regulation. The far left end of the continuum (non-regulation)corresponds to amotivation that, in contrast with intrinsic and extrinsic motivations,shows a complete lack of intention to behave and of self-determination in engaging in a  particular behavior. The far right end of the continuum corresponds to intrinsic motiva-tions that are characterized by the highest levels of self-determination or autonomyamong the different self-regulatory styles. In the middle, there are the extrinsic motiva-tions characterized by different degrees of autonomy vs. coercion (see Fig. 1).While autonomous motivations refer to (internal) volition and choice, controlledmotivations refer to behaviors performed to satisfy an external pressure and coercion.These variations in self-determined motivations have been explained in terms of theCognitive evaluation theory (CET; Deci and Ryan 1985, 1991) as a sub-theory of  SDT. When people experience an internal locus of causality, that is, the personalexperience of what initiates and regulates behaviors, they consider their actions asself-determined and volitional. Differently, when people perceive an external locus of causality, they do not engage in activities for the sake of enjoyment, but rather for some external reasons. Then, different from the controlled ones, autonomous moti-vations are also well-internalized 1 : increasing internalization is associated to 1 “ Internalization is the process of taking in a value or regulation, and integration is the process by whichindividuals more fully transform the regulation into their own so that it will emanate from their sense of self  ”  (Ryan and Deci 2000, p.60)Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations for visiting a National Park 47  increasing self-determination, greater persistence, more positive self-perceptions and better quality of engagement (Deci and Ryan 1985; Pelletier et al. 2002; Ryan and Deci 2000; Vansteenkiste et al. 2006). This was supported by various studies (e.g. Benware and Deci 1984; Deci et al. 1981; Valas and Sovik  1993; Burton et al. 2006) that indeed highlighted how autonomous reasons for engaging in a particular behav-ior are important for fostering and supporting greater persistence, positive healthoutcomes and well-being. Intrinsic motivations are the most autonomous reasons of the self-regulatory styles, have the highest level of self-determination, and reflect  people ’ s innate needs to be active and curious, to take interest in novelty, to exercisecapacities and to explore, and to be growth-oriented organisms in terms of knowledgeand skills (Ryan and Deci 2000). Based on their innate needs for autonomy, compe-tence, and relatedness, people engage freely in intrinsically motivated behaviors for the enjoyment of the activity itself rather than its instrumental value (Deci 1975).Examples of general intrinsic motivations are:  “  because I think that this activity isinteresting, ” “  because I feel good when doing this activity ”  and  “  because this activityis fun ”  (see Guay et al. 2000; Burton et al. 2006). In contrast, people engage in extrinsically motivated behaviors for a separable outcome. However, as mentionedabove, the SDT proposes different self-regulatory styles among the extrinsic motiva-tions (Ryan and Deci 2000): external regulation, characterized by the lowest level of self-determination, which drives actions in order to satisfy an external demand (e.g. “  because I ’ m supposed to do it, ” “  because I feel that I have to do it  ” ); introjectedregulation drives actions for self-esteem enhancement and maintenance, for feelingsof worth and in order to avoid guilt or anxiety (e.g.  “ I ’ m doing it for the benefit of mychildren, ” “ I ’ m doing it so that other persons in my party could learn new things ” );identified regulation, characterized by a higher level of self determination is when a  person identifies with the personal importance of a behavior (e.g.  “  because I ’ m doingit for my own good, ” “  because I believe that this activity is important for me, ”“  because I want to learn new things ” ); integrated regulation, characterized by thehighest level of self-determination among the extrinsic ones, occurs when identifiedmotivations have been fully assimilated to the self (e.g.  “ I ’ m doing it because it is the best thing for my own good, ” “  because I believe that this activity is very important tome I really want to make it  ” ). Fig. 1  The self-determination continuum, showing the motivational, self-regulatory, and perceived locusof causality bases of behaviors that vary in the degree to which they are self-determined. Source: Deci andRyan (2000)48 F. Cini et al.
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