Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Physical Education


Physical Education

First Advisor

Robert J. Sonstroem


The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of the Psychological Model for Physical Activity Participation (Sonstroem, 1978) as it applies to adult women aged 22-65. The components of this model include self-esteem, self-perceptions of physical ability (labeled Estimation), interest in physical activity (labeled Attraction), and physical activity participation.

Comprehensive research of Sonstroem's model showed that previous studies dealt only with adolescent boys and undergraduate males and females. The present sample consisted of 157 women between the ages of 22 and 65 who signed an informed consent and completed the following inventories: Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, Sonstroem's (1974) Physical Estimation and Attraction Scales, Jackson's (1984) Social Desirability Scale, Dishman's Self-Motivation Inventory (Dishman and Ickes,1981), and a physical activity index.

Specific hypotheses tested were: (1) Estimation scores will be significantly related to Self-esteem scores, (2) Estimation scores will be significantly related to Attraction scores, (3) The relationship between Estimation and Self-esteem will be larger than the relationship between Attraction and Self-esteem, (4) Attraction will be significantly related to self-reported physical activity participation, (5) Estimation and Attraction scores together will better predict physical activity participation than Attraction scores alone, and (6) The relationship between Attraction and physical activity participation will be larger than the relationship between Estimation and physical activity participation.

Within experimental limitations, data obtained supported the following hypotheses for the total population: Hypotheses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Additional analyses separated the women into two groups; Group 1, women 22-34 years of age, and Group 2, women 35 years of age and older. Group 1 supported hypotheses 1, 2, 3, and 4, while Group 2 supported hypotheses 2, 3, and 4. Hypothesis 5 was not supported at any point in the study.

Social desirability was not significantly related to either Estimation or Attraction in the total sample but was significantly related to self-esteem. Social desirability was found, however, to influence older women's estimation responses.

The Model was supported with adult women aged 22-65 except for the fact that Estimation did not assist

Attraction in better predicting physical activity participation. Additional research of adult male and female populations with separation of age groups recommended to further examine the validity of the model with adult populations. A revised version of the Physical Estimation and Attraction scale may be required to better predict interest in physical activity for adult women.



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