Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



Advisor 1

Murray Millar, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

David Copeland

Second Committee Member

Clayton Silver

Third Committee Member

Cortney Warren

Graduate Faculty Representative

Rebecca Nathanson

Number of Pages



The present research proposed a definition and a theoretical model of health motivation that consists of four stages: development of health motivation tendency, formation of health intention, initiation of health related action, and persistence in actions to achieve goals developed at the first stage. Based upon this model, two health motivation scales - the Health Motivation Scale in Physical Activities (HMS-PA) and Health Motivation Scale in Healthy Eating (HMS-HE) were developed. Two studies were conducted to validate the validity of the scores obtained by these two scales. Study 1 proposed a definition and a theoretical model of health motivation, as well as two scales - HMS-PA and HMS-HE. By examining 251 UNLV undergraduate participants, the construct validity of the scores of these two scales was tested using exploratory factor analysis respectively. Three different models for each of the two scales were determined. Their scores' discriminant validity was tested by correlating them with Health Self Determinism Index (HSDI) and Self-Motivation Inventory (SMI) respectively as well. The correlations of the scores of these scales were close to zero, indicating that these two scales were different from the HSDI and SMI. Study 2 examined and compared the three models of each scale. It was found that HMS-PA model 2 was the best among the three and HMS-HE model 3 was the best among its three models. Study 2 also investigated the predictive power of health motivation by comparing it with several other variables - health value, health self-efficacy, and BMI. The findings showed that health motivation was a powerful predictor of health behaviors, especially among females. For males, health self-efficacy was a stronger predictor of their health behaviors than health motivation. In conclusion, the proposed theoretical model of health motivation and the two health motivation scales are effective to capture individuals' health motivation. This model and the scales can be applied to related theoretical and empirical studies.


Definiton; Health motivation; Health behavior; Theoretical model; Validation


Social Psychology