Physical activity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy relationships in older adults: A randomized controlled trial


A randomized controlled trial examined the growth and form of multidimensional self-esteem over a 12-month period (6-month exercise intervention and 6-month follow-up) in 174 older adults engaged in either a walking or stretching/toning program. The extent to which changes in physical fitness parameters and physical self-efficacy were related to changes in perceptions of attractive body, strength, physical conditioning, and physical self-worth was also determined. Latent growth curve analyses showed a curvilinear pattern of growth in esteem with significant increases at all levels of self-esteem upon completion of the intervention followed by significant declines at 6 months poistintervention in both groups. Frequency of activity and changes in physical fitness, body fat, and self-efficacy were related to improvements in esteem perceptions relative to attractive body, strength, and physical condition. Model fitting procedures suggested that the best fit of the data was to a model in which the influence of changes in efficacy and physical parameters on physical self-worth were mediated by perceptions of attractive body and physical conditions.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Edward McAuley Ph.D..

Additional information

This study was supported by the National Institute on Aging (Grant #AG 12113).

We are indebted to the assistance provided by the following individuals at various stages of this endeavor: Jane Nelson, M.S., Richard Boileau, Ph.D., Greg Dykstra, Ph.D., Dimitri Demetriou, M.S., Heidi-Mai Talbot, M.S., Erin Dunn, M.S., Melissa Pena, M.S., Eric Hall, M.S., Chris Uchacz, M.S., Julie Lowery, R.N., Naveen Devabhaktuni, M.D., Angelo Pascale, M.S., and Chakang Pongurgson, M.S.

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McAuley, E., Blissmer, B., Katula, J. et al. Physical activity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy relationships in older adults: A randomized controlled trial. ann. behav. med. 22, 131 (2000).

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  • Latent Growth Curve
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Exercise Psychology
  • Attractive Body
  • Sport Competence