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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Edward McAuley and Terry E. Duncan
Research suggests that attributional search is a consequence of disconfirming outcomes and that causal dimensions influence affective reactions to achievement outcomes. The present study manipulated future expectancies for performance and actual outcome in a competitive motor task. Following competitive outcome, causal attributions for and affective reactions to the outcome were assessed. Discriminant analysis indicated that winners experienced significantly more positive affect than did losers, who reported more intense negative affects. Regression analyses examined the relationship between causal dimensions and affective reactions. The locus of causality and stability dimensions significantly influenced a number of negative affects in losers, whereas all three dimensions in combination significantly influenced confidence in winners. The findings are discussed in relation to previous attribution-affect research in achievement settings and the role of disconfirm-ing experiences in the attribution process.
Edward McAuley and Terry E. Duncan
This investigation examined the roles of intuitive (subjective performance perceptions) and reflective (causal attributions) appraisals in the generation of affective reactions to gymnastic performance. Both intuitive and cognitive appraisal were significant predictors of general affect, whereas self-related affects were predominantly influenced by intuitive appraisal and other-related affect by causal dimensions. The stability dimension evidenced the strongest relationship with both general and other-related affective reactions. Commonality analyses determined both types of appraisal to account for up to 14.7% of the cojoint variance in emotional reactions, suggesting that intuitive appraisal may well be perceived as causal attributions under certain circumstances. The findings are discussed in terms of the conditions under which attributions augment the emotion process and the importance of assessing perceptions of performance.
Katherine S. Hall and Edward McAuley
Few studies have examined physical activity behavior and its associated outcomes in older adults living in retirement communities. Guided by the disablement model and social cognitive theory, we tested a cross-sectional model in which physical activity was hypothesized to influence disability indirectly through self-efficacy, functional performance, and functional limitations.
One hundred six older men and women residing in independent-living (ILF) assisted-living (ALF) facilities completed self-report measures of self-efficacy, function, and disability. Objective assessments of physical activity and functional performance were conducted using waist-mounted accelerometers and the short physical performance battery (SPPB), respectively. Path analysis was used to examine the proposed associations among constructs.
Older adults who were more active were also more efficacious and had better physical function and fewer functional limitations. Only higher levels of self-efficacy were associated with less disability. The effects of individual-level covariates were also examined.
This cross-sectional study is among the first to examine the associations between physical activity, function, and disability among older adults residing in ILFs and ALFs. Future research addressing the physical and psychological needs of this growing population is warranted.