Background: Self-efficacy is a person's confidence in being able to successfully perform a specific activity or behavior. Self-efficacy has been shown to influence exercise capacity in patients post myocardial infarction, but has not been fully explored in patients with heart failure (HF). This study examined the impact of performance of a single treadmill exercise test and participation in a 3-month program of walking and resistance exercise on self-efficacy in HF patients.
Methods: 24 patients were randomized to either a home-based walking and resistance exercise program or usual care for 3 months. Prior to enrollment into the exercise program all participants performed a single treadmill exercise test with respiratory gas analysis. Self-efficacy questionnaires were completed at 3 time points, 1) prior to performance of an exercise treadmill test; 2) immediately after completing an exercise test; and 3) at the end of a 3-month exercise program.
Results: Self-efficacy for walking (p=0.07), climbing (p=0.17), lifting (p=0.73) and general activity (p=0.15) did not improve after performance of a single treadmill exercise test and usual care. However, self-efficacy for walking increased after 3 months of a walking and resistance exercise program. (p=0.04).
Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that in patients with stable mild to moderate heart failure, self-efficacy is improved with participation in a home-based walking and endurance exercise program. Self-efficacy is not enhanced by performance of a single treadmill exercise test and usual care.