The Locus of Causality for Exercise Scale (LCE)
The Locus of Causality for Exercise Scale (LCE) is a brief, three-item scale designed to assess the extent to which individuals feel that they freely choose to exercise rather than feeling that they have to for some reason. According to Deci and Ryan (1985), a central feature of self-determination or autonomy is volition. When an individual feels that their behaviour is controlled, either by pressure from others or self-imposed pressures, they are said to have an external perceived locus of causality. An internal perceived locus of causality is evident when an individual feels autonomous and that they are engaging in a behaviour freely and with no sense of coercion or compulsion. The LCE is intended to capture this experience of autonomy with respect to exercise.
The LCE was initially developed using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. In the initial study, the fit of the model was excellent (Chi square = 1.64; df = 2; p = .44; CFI = 1.00; RMSEA = .00). However, with only two degrees of freedom, a good fit is hardly anything to get excited about! Markland and Hardy (1997) reported alpha reliability coefficients in two studies using the scale of .83 and .82 and found it to be a strong predictor of intrinsic motivation.
Scoring the LCE
Responses to the LCE are scored on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7(strongly agree). To score the LCE, reverse scores on items two and three and then calculate the mean for the three items. High scores indicate greater self-determination or a more internal perceived locus of causality and low scores less self-determination.