Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, 25:1

First online:

Exercise self-efficacy in older adults: Social, affective, and behavioral influences

  • Edward McAuleyAffiliated withDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Illinois Email author 
  • , Gerald J. JeromeAffiliated withDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Illinois
  • , David X. MarquezAffiliated withDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Illinois
  • , Steriani ElavskyAffiliated withDepartment of Kinesiology, University of Illinois
  • , Bryan BlissmerAffiliated withUniversity of Rhode Island

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A 6-month randomized controlled trial examined the effect of walking and stretching/toning activity on changes in self-efficacy to overcome barriers and engage in incremental periods of activity in older, formerly sedentary adults (N = 174, Mage = 65.5 years). Additionally, we were interested in the extent to which social, affective, and behavioral influences contributed to self-efficacy at the end of the 6-month program. Multiple sample latent growth curve analyses revealed a nonsignificant curvilinear growth pattern for barriers efficacy with increases in efficacy occurring from base-line to 2 months and then declining at 4 and 6 months. In the case of efficacy related to continued activity participation, there was a significant growth pattern demonstrating declines in efficacy over the 4 time points. Structural modeling analyses revealed significant direct effects of physical activity, affect experienced during activity, and exercise social support on both types of self-efficacy. These relationships were not significantly different between modes of activity. The findings are discussed in terms of the need to target sources of efficacy information prior to program end and the implications that such an approach might have for long-term maintenance of physical activity in older adults.