Does the physical self-efficacy scale assess self-efficacy or self-esteem?

Liang Hu, Edward McAuley, Steriani Elavsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to address whether the Perceived Physical Ability (PPA) subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES; Ryckman, Robbins, Thornton, & Cantrell, 1982) measures self-efficacy or self-esteem. Secondary analyses of four previously reported data sets were conducted to examine the extent to which the PPA overlaps with multidimensional self-esteem measures. Once the factor structure of the PPA was confirmed, multitrait-multimethod analyses were employed to establish convergent and discriminant validity of the PPA and task-specific self-efficacy measures with self-esteem measures. The results support the position that the PPA may be more reflective of esteem than efficacy. Additionally, task-specific self-efficacy measures demonstrated stronger associations with behavioral outcomes than did the PPA. It is recommended that if the PPA is to be used for research purposes, it may have greater utility as a measure of physical self-esteem rather than self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-170
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Measurement
  • Multitrait-multimethod analysis
  • Physical activity
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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