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The contributions of self-efficacy, trait anxiety, and fear of falling to physical activity behavior among residents of continuing care retirement communities

J. Carson Smith, Kathryn R. Zalewski, Robert W. Motl, Mark Van Hart, Jacob Malzahn
  • J. Carson Smith
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, United States |
  • Kathryn R. Zalewski
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
  • Robert W. Motl
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
  • Mark Van Hart
    HealthReach Physical Therapy,
  • Jacob Malzahn
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,


Self-efficacy for exercise has been shown to be an independent predictor of physical activity (PA) in community dwelling older adults. There is relatively little known, however, regarding the strength and independence of the relationship between self-efficacy and objectively measured PA among residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). We examined the independent contribution of self-efficacy on PA behavior and assessed whether the explanation of variance in PA behavior was incrementally improved by considering trait anxiety and fear of falling as theoretical impediments to PA. Fifty-two men and women (83.5±5 yrs) residing in one of four CCRCs in metro Milwaukee wore an accelerometer on their ankle for 7 days to measure number of steps per day, the percentage of time spent active and inactive, and moderate and high intensity PA. Self-efficacy for exercise, self-efficacy for overcoming barriers to exercise, trait anxiety, and fear of falling were assessed. Multiple linear regression was utilized to examine the independently explained variance in PA. Exercise self-efficacy significantly and independently explained 13.4% of the variance in number of steps/day (P<0.05). The explanation of variance in moderate intensity activity was incrementally improved when trait anxiety was factored into the model. Overcoming barriers self-efficacy was significantly related to time spent in high intensity activity (r=0.30, P<0.05), but did not significantly and independently explain variance in high intensity PA behavior. Trait anxiety and fear of falling were not identified as significant impediments to PA in CCRC residents. Furthermore, trait anxiety was shown to facilitate, not impede, moderate intensity PA. Self-efficacy for physical activity may serve as a representative target for interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in CCRC residents.


Continuing Care Retirement Community, Depression, Fear of Falling, Older Adults, Physical Activity Accelerometer, Self-Efficacy

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Submitted: 2010-02-16 18:31:48
Published: 2010-08-26 15:51:19
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Copyright (c) 2010 J. Carson Smith, Kathryn R. Zalewski, Robert W. Motl, Mark Van Hart, Jacob Malzahn

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