, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 355-376

Socioeconomic status and exercise self-efficacy in late life

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Self-efficacy, or assessments about one's ability to carry out particular tasks, has been shown to play a central role in the adoption and maintenance of exercise. The relationship between exercise self-efficacy and socioeconomic status (SES), however, has not been formally developed or tested, and the implications of SES for exercise interventions are not known. We hypothesize pathways through which income, education, and occupation affect self-efficacy and capitalize on the availability of responses from 1944 older HMO enrollees to investigate the direct and indirect associations of SES indicators with exercise self-efficacy. Direct associations of age and education are found. Indirect associations of age, income, education, and occupation operate primarily through previous exercise experience, satisfaction with amount of walking, depression, and outcome expectations. The potentially modifiable nature of exercise outcome expectations (i.e., belief in the benefits of exercise) in combination with its strong association with exercise self-efficacy argue in support of greater consideration of its role in attempts to improve exercise self-efficacy.