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Modeling and Self-Efficacy: A Test of Bandura's Model

Edward McAuley

Female undergraduate students (N - 39) were assigned to one of three conditions: aided participant modeling (APM), unaided participant modeling (UPM), or a control group followed by practice trials of a gymnastic skill. Subjects in both modeling groups reported higher self-efficacy expectations and lower anxiety ratings than the control group following treatment. The aided participant modeling group scored higher on the performance measure than did the unaided participant modeling group, and both modeling groups scored higher than the control group. Path analytic techniques were employed to test the fit of the data to Bandura's (1977a) self-efficacy model and an anxiety reduction model. Self-efficacy was a significant predictor of skill performance, but the anxiety-performance path was nonsignificant. Although Bandura's model did not fully explain the fit of the data to the fully recursive model, it proved to be a more parsimonious explanation of behavior change than was the anxiety reduction model. Despite the limitations imposed on the data by the small sample size, the present study suggests that self-efficacy is an influential determinant of motor skill acquisition.

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Efficacy, Attributional, and Affective Responses to Exercise Participation

Edward McAuley

The relationships between efficacy cognitions and causal attributions for exercise progress, and their impact on affective responses, were examined in a sample of previously sedentary middle-aged individuals 10 weeks into an exercise program. Employing theoretical propositions put forth by Bandura (1986) and Weiner (1985), it was hypothesized that exercise efficacy would influence causal attributions and affective responses to exercise participation. Path analysis demonstrated that greater exercise frequency resulted in more internal, somewhat stable, and personally controllable attributions for perceived exercise progress. More efficacious subjects also attributed their progress to more personally controllable causes. All three causal dimensions were related to positive affect, and efficacy had significant direct and indirect effects on affect. The results are discussed with respect to the need to more closely examine the role affect might play in exercise over time, as opposed to single bouts of exercise. Furthermore, the necessity for studying complex interplays of cognitive determinants of exercise behavior is discussed.

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Reliability and Validity of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale in a Competitive Sport Setting

Edward McAuley and Diane Gill

Interest in the role of self-confidence in sport performance has been high in sport psychology research. A measure to assess general physical self-efficacy has recently been developed, but without application to competitive sport performance. The present study examined the role of general and task-specific self-efficacy in women's intercollegiate gymnastics. It also assessed the reliability and validity of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale in a competitive sport setting. The Physical Self-Efficacy Scale was found to be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring an individual's general physical self-efficacy in sport. However, the task-specific measures of self-efficacy and the gymnast's prediction of how they would perform proved to be much more powerful variables for predicting actual gymnastic performance. The results are discussed in terms of the relationships between different types of self-efficacy and sport performance and the problems associated with self-efficacy measurement.

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Physical Activity, Aging, and Psychological Well-Being

Edward McAuley and David Rudolph

This review examines the effects of exercise and physical activity on the psychological well-being of older adults. Unlike most of the literature in this area, this review focuses primarily on those psychosocial outcomes that are generally positive in nature. As well as considering the overall effects of physical activity, the roles of program length, subject sex, age, physical fitness, and measurement are considered. Overall, the results of the 38 studies reviewed are overwhelmingly positive, with the majority reporting positive associations between physical activity and psychological well-being. This relationship appears to be moderated by the length of the exercise programs; longer programs consistently report more positive results. There is little evidence that exercise has differential psychological effects on men and women or on individuals of differing ages. Whereas training protocols seem to result in significant changes in physical fitness and well-being, such improvements appear to be unrelated. The review concludes with a brief discussion of possible mechanisms underlying the physical activity/psychological health relationship, and several directions are recommended for future research.

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Exercise and Optimism: Are Highly Active Individuals More Optimistic?

Maria Kavussanu and Edward McAuley

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between reported physical activity and optimism. A secondary purpose was to determine whether physical self-efficacy and trait anxiety mediate the relationship between exercise and optimism. Participants (N = 188) were administered a battery of questionnaires assessing optimism, pessimism, physical self-efficacy, trait anxiety, and extent and nature of involvement in physical activity. Demographic information was also collected. The results indicated that high active individuals were significantly more optimistic and less pessimistic than inactive/low active individuals. In addition, the moderately and high active groups reported significantly higher physical self-efficacy and lower trait anxiety than the inactive/low active group. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that trait anxiety and physical self-efficacy accounted for significant unique variation in optimism. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that optimists engage in exercise significantly more often than pessimists.

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Goal Settings Self-Efficacy, and Exercise Behavior

Kim Poag and Edward McAuley

Whereas the success of goal setting is well documented in the industrial-organizational literature (Locke & Latham, 1990), the empirical efforts to determine its effectiveness in sport settings have met with minimal success, and no studies exist that document the role played by goals in successful adherence to exercise regimens. We examined the relationships among goals, efficacy, and exercise behavior in the context of community conditioning classes. Female participants' goal efficacy was predictive of perceived goal achievement at the end of the program, and exercise self-efficacy was significantly related to subsequent intensity but not frequency of exercise participation. Moreover, a proposed interaction between exercise importance and self-efficacy failed to account for further variation in physical activity participation. The results are discussed in terms of the physical activity history of the sample and the roles played by goals and efficacy at diverse stages of the exercise process.

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Efficacy Expectations and Perceptions of Causality in Motor Performance

Terry Duncan and Edward McAuley

Bandura (1977) has proposed self-efficacy as a common cognitive mechanism accounting for the effects of various psychological processes on performance. Although recent studies have provided preliminary evidence for the relationship between self-efficacy and subsequent performance on competitive motor tasks, little has been done to examine the relationship between self-efficacy and the cognitive appraisal of competitive sport information. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between personal self-efficacy and the causal explanations given for performance in a competitive sport setting. Subjects were manipulated into high and low efficacy groups, engaged in a competitive motor task against an opponent, and then gave causal attributions for outcome. Multivariate analyses did not reveal any significant differences between high and low efficacy groups' causal explanations for outcome. However, winners made more stable and controllable attributions than did losers. The results are discussed in terms of the possible perception of lack of responsibility for outcomes that do not occur in natural environments, consequently eliminating the need for causal ascriptions.

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Effects of a Goal-Setting Training Program on Basketball Free-Throw Self-Efficacy and Performance

J. Ted Miller and Edward McAuley

Though improved performance as a result of goal setting has been reported in organizational psychology studies, little research in sport settings has demonstrated these effects. This study was designed to examine the effects of a goalsetting training program on basketball free-throw performance, perceptions of success, and self-efficacy. Eighteen undergraduate students were matched by free-throw shooting ability, then randomly assigned to either goal-training (GT) or no-goal-training (NT) groups for a period of 5 weeks. Although the GT group reported significantly higher perceptions of success and self-efficacy than did the NT group, no significant differences between groups were revealed for free-throw accuracy. Correlational data suggested a stronger relationship between self-efficacy and free-throw performance for the GT group than for the NT group. Discussed are factors that contribute to the discrepancies between results found in sport related investigations of goal setting and those obtained from studies conducted in business and laboratory environments.

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Perceptions of Causality In Sport: An Application of the Causal Dimension Scale

Edward McAuley and John B. Gross

One of the more problematic methodological issues in attributional research has been the accurate classification, by researchers, of causal attributions made by respondents along causal dimensions. Closed-ended and open-ended approaches have been logical but limiting solutions to assessing attributions. Russell (1982) has the Causal Dimension Scale, a measure that allows the respondent to record a causal statement and indicate how he or she perceives that causal attribution in terms of causal dimensions. The present study examined the effects of winning and losing at table-tennis upon causal attributions using the Causal Dimension Scale. Reliability of the measure was assessed in a sport setting and the relationship between respondents' perceptions of attributions in terms of causal dimensions and judges' perception of the same were examined. The Causal Dimension Scale was found to be a reliable measure of how individuals perceive attributions in terms of causal dimensions. Winners' attributions were more internal, stable, and controllable than those of losers but attributions were of an internal, unstable, and controllable nature for both winners and losers.

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Self-Efficacy and Perceptions of Effort: A Reciprocal Relationship

David L. Rudolph and Edward McAuley