Examination of the Relationship Between Self‐Efficacy and Affect at Varying Levels of Aerobic Exercise Intensity

Andrew K. Tate, Steven J. Petruzzello, Curt L. Lox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although proposed as an explanation for increases in positive and decreases in negative affect, little evidence supports the notion of a stronger efficacy‐affect relationship as acute aerobic exercise intensity increases. Relationships between self‐efficacy (SE), positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) were examined with respect to 3 randomly assigned conditions: (a) no exercise (control), (b) cycling at 55% VO2max, and (c) cycling at 70% VO2max. Twenty subjects (age = 22.6 years; M VO2max= 47.8 ml · kg−1· min−1) participated in each. Preexercise SE predicted in‐task NA and postexercise PA in the 55% condition and postexercise PA in the 70% condition (ps < .05). Although SE significantly increased from pre‐ to postexercise, in‐task affect failed to predict these increases in SE. These data suggest that in a fit college‐aged population, a stronger reciprocal relationship between preexercise SE, in‐task affect, and postexercise SE does not exist with increasing levels of exercise intensity. Contrary to self‐efficacy theory, no evidence was found for a reciprocal relationship. However, the relationship between efficacy and affect was such that when collapsed across conditions and time, subjects with higher SE scores reported lower NA (p < .05).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1922-1936
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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