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Testing Social Cognitive Mechanisms of Exercise in College Students

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Objectives : To determine if different dimensions of outcome expectations are mediators between self-efficacy and exercise among college students.

Methods : Students (n = 290) reported exercise levels, self-efficacy, and expectations using a Web-based questionnaire. Factor analysis was performed to identify dimensions of expectations; regression analyses tested whether each factor mediated the relationship between selfefficacy and exercise.

Results : Physical, mental, social, and selfevaluative expectations emerged from the factor analysis, but none was associated with exercise independent of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, however, was significantly associated with exercise independent of expectations (P < 0.01).

Conclusions : College students' activity expectations are multidimensional, but do not mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and exercise.

Keywords: college students; exercise; outcome expectations; self-efficacy; social cognitive theory

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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