A model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations on subjective well-being: the experience of overnight visitors to a national park
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According to the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci and Ryan 1985), intrinsic and extrinsic motivations can be differentiated with levels along a continuum representing distinct self-regulatory styles for behavior. Behavioral regulations consider different degrees to which they represent autonomous or self-determined functioning and specifically intrinsic motivations are characterized by the highest level of self-determination. Past research into the SDT has highlighted correlations between reasons with high levels of autonomy or self-determination for engaging in a particular behavior and enhanced Subjective Well-Being (SWB), as well as positive behavioral outcomes. Little is known about the relationship between visitors’ reasons for visiting a national park, associated self-regulatory styles and their self-appraisals of SWB. Therefore, the present research investigates the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for visiting the Kruger National Park (KNP), associated self-regulatory styles and self-evaluations of SWB among 389 overnight visitors. A structural equation model (SEM) is proposed to examine both the cognitive (life satisfaction) and affective (positive and negative feelings) components of SWB in association to motivations with different degrees of self-determination. Reflecting previous research, the results show that overnight visitors who are more intrinsically motivated have higher life satisfaction levels, higher positive feelings and lower negative feelings. In contrast, overnight visitors who are less intrinsically motivated have lower life satisfaction levels, lower positive feelings and higher negative feeling. The practical implications of these findings are highlighted.