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Soc Sci Med. 1998 May;46(9):1175-82.

Internal structure of a measure of self-efficacy in physical activity among high school students.

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North York Public Health Department, Ont., Canada.


The preliminary development of a measure of self-efficacy to participate in vigorous physical activity when confronted with specific perceived barriers to physical activity is described. Measures used in previous research ([Hofstetter, C.R., Hovell, M.F., Sallis, J.F., 1990a. Social learning correlates of exercise self-efficacy: Early experiences with physical activity, Social Science and Medicine, 31, 1169-1176.]; [Hofstetter, C.R., Sallis, J.F., Hovell, M.F., 1990b. Some health dimensions of self-efficacy: Analysis of theoretical specificity, Social Science and Medicine, 31, 1051-1056.]; [Reynolds, K.D., Killen, J.D., Bryson, M.S., Maron, D.J., Taylor, C.B., Maccoby, N., Farquhar, J.W., 1990. Psychosocial predictors of physical activity in adolescents, Preventive Medicine, 19, 541-551.]; [Sallis, J.F., Pinski, R.B., Grossman, R.M., Patterson, T.L., Nader, P.R., 1988. The development of self-efficacy scales for health-related diet and exercise behaviors, Health Education Research, 3, 283-292.]) were adapted and original items were developed. The 20-item measure has a 5-point Likert format ranging from not at all confident (1) to very confident (5). An earlier pilot study of 200 secondary school students showed that the measure was free of social desirability. The data were derived from a survey of 1041 secondary school students from a Metropolitan Toronto board of education. Principal component analysis (PCA) with oblique rotation of the data yielded two factors: self-efficacy to overcome external barriers and self-efficacy to overcome internal barriers. The 12-item external barriers subscale had a coefficient alpha of 0.88 and the 8-item internal barriers subscale had a coefficient alpha of 0.87. The subscales significantly correlated with the frequency of participation in vigorous physical activity. In summary, the results provide some support for the internal consistency reliability, construct validity, criterion validity, and discriminant validity of the measure. Though further psychometric research is warranted, the self-efficacy measure shows promise for physical activity research.

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