Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Physical Education


Physical Education, Health and Recreation

First Advisor

Robert J. Sonstroem


This study was conducted to test the validity of the Exercise and Self-Esteem Model (Sonstroem & Morgan, in publication). The model examines mechanisms of self-esteem change through exercise. This study examined the degree to which model components, physical self-efficacy, perceived physical competence and global self-esteem related to each other and to measures of physical fitness.

This research involved a sample of 70 subjects involved in the University of Rhode Island's EXERLIFE Program (CRM & CF) and 75 additional subjects from URI's faculty and community organizations.

All 70 Exerlife subjects participated in baseline physical fitness testing and were administered psychological inventories. The 75 additional subjects were only administered psychological inventories. Psychological inventories included the following scales: Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, twenty items from Jacksons (1984) Social Desirability Scale, seventeen Estimation- type items developed from Sonstroem's (1974) Physical Estimation and Attraction Scales, Susan Harter's (1982) Adult Self-Perception Profile, self-efficacy statements formatted by Bandura and Adams (1977), and Secord & Jourard's (1953) Body Cathexis Scale.

The effect of physical fitness feedback on initial physical self-perceptions was examined by dividing the (CRM) and (CF) subjects into two groups. Cohort A received fitness testing first followed by psychological inventories and the reverse order of administration was used in Cohort B.

There are three main sets of relationships that exist between the four levels of model variables (Appendix A). The three sets of relationships in the model are: (1) between global self-esteem and physical competence, (2) between physical competence and physical self-efficacies, and (3) between physical self-efficacies and physical fitness. In the first relationship, the mean correlation coefficient for males and females was .386 and .351 respectively. In the second relationship, the mean correlation coefficient for males and females was .447 and .434 respectively. In the third relationship, the mean correlation coefficient in males and females was .433 and .387 respectively.

The specific hypotheses tested were: (I) Perceptions of physical self-efficacy are positively and significantly related to physical fitness, (II) Physical self-efficacy scores are more highly related to physical competence scores than to global self-esteem scores, (III) Physical competence weighted by importance to the individual is more highly related to global self-esteem than physical competence alone, (IV) Physical competence scores are more highly related to global self-esteem scores than are physical self-efficacy scores, and (V) The relationship between physical fitness and physical self-efficacy will be significantly larger in Cohort A as compared to Cohort B.

Hypotheses I and II were supported statistically for both males and females. Hypotheses IV achieved statistical support with females but not with males (t=l.56, p< .07). Additional analyses found age and experience to be significantly related to physical fitness self-efficacies. Results of this research provided certain support for the Exercise and Self-Esteem Model.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.