Gender and developmental differences in exercise beliefs among youth and prediction of their exercise behavior

J Sch Health. 1995 Aug;65(6):213-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.1995.tb03365.x.


This study examined gender and developmental differences in exercise-related beliefs and exercise behaviors of 286 racially diverse youth and explored factors predictive of exercise. Compared to males, females reported less prior and current exercise, lower self-esteem, poorer health status, and lower exercise self-schema. Adolescents, in contrast to pre-adolescents, reported less social support for exercise and fewer exercise role models. In a path model, gender, the benefits/barriers differential, and access to exercise facilities and programs directly predicted exercise. Effects of grade, perceived health status, exercise self-efficacy, social support for exercise, and social norms for exercise on exercise behavior, were mediated through the benefits/barriers differential. Effect of race on exercise was mediated by access to exercise facilities and programs. Continued exploration of gender and developmental differences in variables influencing physical activity can yield valuable information for tailoring exercise promotion interventions to the unique needs of youth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • United States