Importance Ratings and Specific Components of Physical Self-Concept: Relevance to Predicting Global Components of Self-Concept and Exercise

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Western Sydney, Macarthur
  • 2 The University of Rhode Island
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Fox (1990) proposed a personalized hierarchical model of physical self-concept that integrated self-concept and perceived importance ratings, and he developed instruments to measure these constructs. Alternative approaches based on his instruments are evaluated with data from Sonstroem, Harlow, and Josephs’ (1994) study of 216 adult female aerobic dancers and their exercise activity. Consistent with previous research, there was little support for importance weighted-average or importance discrepancy models in the prediciton of self-esteem, general physical self-concept, or exercise behavior. However, condition self-concept was more positively related to exercise than other components of physical self-concept, and importance ratings of specific components of physical self-concept were positively related to exercise. These results support the construct validity of multidimensional physical self-concept responses, the value of specific domains of self-concept most relevant to a particular application rather than global measures of self, and the usefulness of importance ratings for predicting exercise activity.

Herbert W. Marsh is with the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur, P.O. Box 555, Campbelltown, NSW 2560, Australia. Robert J. Sonstroem is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881.

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