Tai Chi, Self-Efficacy, and Physical Function in the Elderly

Abstract

Using Tai Chi as an exercise mode, this study examined the association between self-efficacy and physical function. Ninety-four healthy, physically inactive older adults (M age = 72.8 years, SD = 5.1) were randomly assigned to either a 6-month, twice a week, Tai Chi condition or a wait-list control condition. Outcome variables included self-reports of movement efficacy and physical function assessed at baseline, middle, and termination of the study. Multisample latent curve analyses revealed a significant rate of change attributable to the Tai Chi intervention in both self-efficacy and physical function, with participants experiencing significant improvements over the course of the intervention. Analyses also showed a positive association between self-efficacy and physical function, indicating that improvements in older adults' self-efficacy of movement as a function of Tai Chi were related to increased levels of perceived physical capability. This study uncovered the need for further exploration of the relationship between exercise self-efficacy and physical function for enhancing health-related quality of life in older adults.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

REFERENCES

  1. Bandura, A. (1986). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122–147.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. NewYork: Freeman.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Blair, S. N., & Connelly, J. C. (1996). How much physical activity should we do? The case for moderate amounts and intensities of physical activity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67, 193–205.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Blair, S. N., & Garcia, M. E. (1996). Get up and move: A call to action for older men and women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 44, 599–600.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Cohen, J. (1977). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Cress, M. E., Buchner, D. M., Questad, K. A., Esselman, P. C., deLateur, B. J., & Schwartz, R. S. (1999). Exercise: Effects on physical functional performance in independent older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 54A, M242–M248.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics. (2000). Older Americans 2000: Key indicators of well-being. Hyattsville, MD: Author.

  8. Hedeker, D., & Gibbons, R. D. (1997). Application of randomeffects pattern-mixture models for missing data in longitudinal studies. Psychological Methods, 2, 64–78.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Jette, A. M., Jette, D. U., Ng, J., Plotkin, D. J., Bach, M. A., & The Musculoskeletal Impairment (MSI) Study Group. (1999). Are performance-based measures sufficiently reliable for use in multicenter trials. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 54A, M3–M6.

    Google Scholar 

  10. J ¨ oreskog, K. G., & S ¨ orbom, D. (1996). LISREL 8: User's Reference Guide. Chicago: Scientific Software International.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Lachman, M. E., Jette, A., Tennstedt, S., Howland, J., Harris, B. A., & Peterson, E. (1997). A cognitive–behavioral model for promoting regular physical activity in older adults. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 1, 251–261.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Lachman, M. E., Ziff, M. A., & Spiro, A. (1994). Maintaining a sense of control in later life. In R. Abeles, H. Gift, and M. Ory (Eds.), Aging and quality of life (pp. 116–132). New York: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Laird, N. M., & Ware, J. H. (1982). Random-effects models for longitudinal data. Biometrics, 38,963–974.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lan, C., Chen, S. Y., Lai, J. S., & Wong, M. K. (1999). The effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory function in patients with coronary artery bypass surgery. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31, 634–638.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Lan, C., Lai, J. S., Chen, S. Y., & Wong, M. K. (1998). 12-month Tai Chi training in the elderly: Its effect on health fitness. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30, 345–351.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Li, F., Duncan, T. E., Duncan, S.C., McAuley, E., Chaumeton, E., & Harmer, P. (2001a). Enhancing the psychological well-being of elderly individuals through Tai Chi exercise: A latent growth curve analysis. Structural Equation Modeling, 8, 53–83.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Li, F., Harmer, P., Chaumeton, N., Duncan, T. E., & Duncan, S. C. (in press). Tai Chi as a means to enhance self-esteem: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Applied Gerontology.

  18. Li, F., Harmer, P., McAuley, E., Duncan, T. E., Duncan, S. C., Chaumeton, N., & Fisher, J. (2001b). An evaluation of the effects of Tai Chi on physical function among older persons: A randomized controlled trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 23, 139–146.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Li, F., McAuley, E., Harmer, P., Duncan, T. E., & Chaumeton, N. (2001c). Tai Chi enhances self-efficacy and exercise behavior in older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 9, 161–171.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Little, R. J. A. (1993). Pattern-mixture models for multivariate incomplete data. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 88, 125–133.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Little, R. J. A. (1995). Modeling the drop-out mechanism in repeated-measures studies. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 90, 1112–1121.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Maddox, G. L., & Clark, D.O. (1992). Trajectories of functional impairment in later life. Journal of Health and Human Behavior, 33, 114–125.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Mardia, K. V. (1970). Measures of multivariate skewness and kurtosis with applications. Biometrika, 57, 519–530.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Mazzeo, R. S., Cavanagh, P., Evans, W. J., Fiatarone, M., Hagberg, J., McAuley, E., & Startzell, J. (1998). American College of Sports Medicine position stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for older adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 30, 992–1008.

    Google Scholar 

  25. McAuley, E. (1993). Self-efficacy, physical activity, and aging. In J. Kelly (Ed.), Activity and aging (pp. 187–205). London, Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  26. McAuley, E., Courneya, K. S., & Lettunich, J. (1991). Effects of acute and long-term exercise on self-efficacy response in sedentary, middle-aged males and females. The Gerontologist, 31, 534–542.

    Google Scholar 

  27. McAuley, E., & Katula, J. (1998). Physical activity interventions in the elderly: Influence on physical health and psychological function. In R. Schulz, G. Maddox, and M. P. Lawton (Eds.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics (pp. 115–154). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  28. McAuley, E., Katula, J., Mihalko, S. L., Blissmer, B., Duncan, T. E., Pena, M., & Dunn, E. (1999). Mode of physical activity and self-efficacy in older adults: A latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 54, 283–292.

    Google Scholar 

  29. McAuley, E., & Mihalko, S. L. (1998). Measuring exercise-related self-efficacy. In J. J. Duda (Ed.), Advancements in sport and exercise psychology measurement (pp. 371–390). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

    Google Scholar 

  30. McAuley, E., Mihalko, S. L., & Rosengren, K. (1997). Self-efficacy and balance correlates of fear of falling in the elderly. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 5, 329–340.

    Google Scholar 

  31. McAuley, E., & Rudolph, D. (1995). Physical activity, aging, and psychological well-being. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 3, 67–96.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Mendes De Leon, C. F., Seeman, T. E., Baker, D. I., Richardson, E. D., & Tinetti, M. E. (1996). Self-efficacy, physical decline, and change in functioning in community-living elders: A prospective study. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Science, 51, S183–S190.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Meredith, W., & Tisak, J. (1990). Latent curve analysis. Psychometrika, 55, 107–122.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Muthén, B., & Curran, P. (1997). General growth modeling with interventions: A latent variable framework for analysis and power estimation. Psychological Methods, 2, 371–402.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Muthén, K., & Muthén, B. (1998). Mplus: User's guide. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

    Google Scholar 

  36. National Institute on Aging. (1996, May). Tai Chi for older people reduces falls, may help maintain strength Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Aging. (Press release archive. URL: http://www.hih.gov/nia/new/press/taichi.htm)

    Google Scholar 

  37. Pate, R. R., Pratt, M., Blair, S. N., et al. (1995). Physical activity and public health: A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Journal of American Medical Association, 273, 402–407.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Reuben, D. B., & Siu, A. L. (1990). An objective measure of physical function of elderly outpatients: The Physical Performance Test. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 38, 1105–1112.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Rodin, J. (1986). Aging and health: Effects of the sense of control. Science, 223, 1271–1276.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Rosengren, K. S., McAuley, E., & Mihalko, S. L. (1998). Gait adjustments in older adults: Activity and efficacy influences. Psychology and Aging, 13, 375–386.

    Google Scholar 

  41. SAS Institute. (1990). SAS/STAT software: Changes and enhancements through Release 6.12. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Select Committee on Aging,U. S. House of Representatives. (1992). Aging research: Benefits outweigh the costs (Publ.No. 102-871). Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Shephard, R. J. (1997). Aging, physical activity, and health. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Stewart, A. L., Hays, R. D., & Ware, J. E. (1988). The MOS Short-Form General Health Survey: Reliability and validity in a patient population. Medical Care, 26, 724–735.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Stone, R. I., & Murtaugh, C. M. (1990). The elderly population with chronic functional disability: Implication for home care eligibility. Gerontologist, 30, 491–496.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Tinetti, M. E., Mendes De Leon, C. F., Doucette, J. T., & Baker, D. I. (1994). Fear of falling and fall-related efficacy in relationship to functioning among community-living elders. Journal of Gerontology, 49, M140–M147.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Tinetti, M. E., Richman, D., & Powell, L. (1990). Fall efficacy as a measure of fear of falling. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 45,P239–P243.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Tinetti, M. E., Speechley, M., & Ginter, S. F., (1988). Risk factors for falls among elderly persons living in the community. New England Journal of Medicine, 319, 1701–1707.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Tse, S., & Bailey, D.M. (1991). T'ai Chi and postural control in the well elderly. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 29, 263–288.

    Google Scholar 

  50. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1996). Physical activity and health: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Ware, J. E., Snow, K. K., Kosinski, M., & Gandek, B. (1993). SF-36 Health Survey manual and interpretation guide. Boston, MA: The Health Institute, New England Medical Center.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Washburn, R. A., Smith, K. W., Jette, A. M., & Janney, C. A. (1993). The Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE): Development and evaluation. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 46, 153–162.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Wolf, L. S., Barnhart, H. X., Kutner, N. G., Coogler, C., Xu, T., & Atlanta FICSIT Group. (1996). Reducing frailty and falls in older persons: An investigation of Tai Chi and computerized balance training. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 44, 489–497.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Wolf, S. L., Kutner, N. G., Green, R. C., & McNeely, E. (1993). The Atlanta FICSIT Study: Two exercise interventions to reduce frailty in elders. Journal American Geriatrics Society, 41, 329–332.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Wolfson, L., Whipple, R., & Derby, C. (1996). Balance and strength training in older adults: Intervention gains and Tai Chi maintenance. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 44, 498–506.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Yan, J. H., & Downing, J.H. (1998). Tai Chi:Analternative exercise form for seniors. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 6, 350–362.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Young, D. R., Appel, L. J., Jee, S. H., & Miller, E. R. III. (1999). The effects of aerobic exercise and T'ai Chi on blood pressure in older people: Results of a randomized trial. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 47, 277–284.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Li, F., Harmer, P., McAuley, E. et al. Tai Chi, Self-Efficacy, and Physical Function in the Elderly. Prev Sci 2, 229–239 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013614200329

Download citation

  • self-efficacy
  • physical function
  • Tai Chi