During the process of health behavior change, individuals pass different phases characterized by different demands and challenges that have to be mastered. To overcome these demands successfully, phase-specific self-efficacy beliefs are important. The present study distinguishes between task self-efficacy, maintenance self-efficacy, and recovery self-efficacy. These phase-specific beliefs were studied in a sample of 484 cardiac patients during rehabilitation treatment and at follow-up 2 and 4 months after discharge to predict physical exercise at 4 and 12 months follow-up. The three phase-specific self-efficacies showed sufficient discriminant validity and allowed for differential predictions of intentions and behavior. Persons in the maintenance phase benefited more from maintenance self-efficacy in terms of physical exercise than persons not in the maintenance phase. Those who had to resume their physical exercise after a health related break profited more from recovery self-efficacy in terms of physical exercise than persons who were continuously active. Implications for possible interventions are discussed.
Health Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany
University of Aberdeen, School of Psychology, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College, William Guild Bldg., Aberdeen, AB24 2UB Scotland.