Davis, J. A., Miller, P. C., Cooper, K. L., Schmitt, E. E., Bixby, W. R., & Hall, E. E. (2007). Relationships between self-efficacy and exercise performance during treadmill running. ACSM Annual Meeting New Orleans, Presentation Number 2266.

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"Self-efficacy (SE) is the perception of one’s ability to complete a specific course of action. It is believed that individuals high in SE are more likely to select more challenging tasks such as exercising at higher intensities. Research has also shown SE to be negatively related to ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during exercise".

This study identified relationships between self-efficacy and exercise intensity and ratings of perceived exertion during bouts of exercise with video and music distractions, and no distraction. Ss (M = 9; F = 16) performed three 35-minute runs on a treadmill each with a randomly administered condition (video, music, and no-distraction). Each exercise session began with a 5-minute warm-up where the treadmill speed was increased until 80% HRmax was reached. Ss then selected the treadmill speed at the completion of each subsequent 5-minute stage [to indicate the level of task difficulty]. Self-efficacy was assessed before each exercise session. Exercise measures such as ratings of perceived exertion, heart rate, speed (MPH), and calories expended were recorded every five minutes throughout the exercise.

There were significant positive relationships between self-efficacy and speed and calories expended in each distraction condition and the no-distraction condition. During the no-distraction condition, but not in the other conditions, self-efficacy was related significantly to ratings of perceived exertion. All other variable relationships were insignificant.

Implication. Individuals with higher self-efficacy will select more challenging tasks (indicated by higher speed, heart rate, and calories expended in this study). Self-efficacy was positively related to ratings of perceived exertion in the no-distraction condition, indicating its role in focused task-related activities.

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