Little research has attended to the possibility that competencies and efficacy for physical activity acquired in childhood may last a lifetime. This study examined self-report and recall data on 327 Vancouver women born between 1896 and 1921 with a view to understanding current sources of self-efficacy for adult fitness activity. Current self-efficacy (SE) for late life fitness activity was assessed alongside age, education, perceived well-being, and movement confidence in childhood (MCC) for six challenging physical skills. Perceived well-being was the best predictor of late life SE for fitness exercise, explaining 26% of the variance. However, MCC was also an equally important and independent predictor of late life SE. even when age. education, and perceived well-being were controlled for. This study provides preliminary evidence that personal estimates of ability to exercise in late life are based on self-evaluations of Wellness, current age, and former competencies that have origins in girlhood mastery experiences over six decades earlier.
Sandra O’Brien Cousins is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. The University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H9.