Exercise in middle-aged adults: self-efficacy and self-presentational outcomes

Prev Med. 1995 Jul;24(4):319-28. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1995.1053.


Background: Whereas self-efficacy expectations have been identified as important determinants of exercise participation patterns, little empirical work that examines efficacy expectations as outcomes of exercise participation or their theoretical relationship to other psychological outcomes associated with exercise has been conducted. In the context of middle-aged males and females, the present study attempted to integrate social cognitive and impression management perspectives with respect to anxiety associated with exercise.

Methods: Formerly sedentary subjects participated in a 5-month exercise program with assessments of physique anxiety, efficacy, outcome expectations, and anthropometric variables prior to and following the program.

Results: Both acute bouts and long-term participation in exercise resulted in significant increases in self-efficacy. In turn, these changes in efficacy and initial positive outcome expectations were significant predictors of reductions in physique anxiety, even when controlling for the influence of gender and reductions in body fat, weight, and circumferences.

Conclusions: The findings are discussed in terms of the implications for structure and content of exercise environments and the utility of the proposed theoretical integration. Strategies for enhancing beliefs regarding health and fitness outcomes associated with exercise rather than appearance outcomes may be required to maximize reductions in negative body image.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Bicycling
  • Body Image
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Jogging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Physical Fitness
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Walking