Validation of the exercise self-efficacy scale (ESE-S) for increased adherence to physical activity


  • Rachael D. Nolan College of Public Health, Kent State University
  • Jeffrey S. Hallam College of Public Health, Kent State University



Exercise, self-efficacy, confirmatory factor analysis, physical activity


Background: Various self-efficacy instruments have been used to predict exercise behavior. Many of these scales have been shown to
be valid and reliable measures for the strength dimension of self-efficacy, but have overlooked the construct’s dimensions of magnitude and generality. This study established the Exercise Self-Efficacy Scale (ESE-S), a measure of the strength, generality, and magnitude dimensions of exercise self-efficacy, as a valid tool towards the promotion and adherence of routine physical activity.
Methods: Using a non-experimental, cross-sectional design, the ESE-S was administered to individuals aged 18 and older (n=270) who
were conveniently recruited from a large city located in Ohio. Participants were employees of a large, national company and consented
to participate in an employee wellness campaign over a two-day period. Participants completed the 24-item ESE-S onetime and demographic data were not collected. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine the 4-factor hypothesized structure of the ESE-S.
Results: The confirmatory analysis showed that the data did not conform to the factorial structure as originally hypothesized, but did
retain a 4-four factor solution. Final factors identified from the confirmatory analysis were internal strength, external strength, generality, and magnitude.
Conclusions: This study confirmed a 4-factor, 21-item factorial structure. Although the structure differed from that hypothesized, the
results showed that the tool was a valid and reliable instrument to measure the dimensions of exercise self-efficacy commonly overlooked within the literature. Public health professionals and researchers can use the instrument to measure exercise self-efficacy and develop self-efficacy based exercise promotion programs.






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