Exercise and self-esteem in menopausal women: A randomized controlled trial involving walking and yoga

Steriani Elavsky, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. To examine the effects of walking and yoga on multidimensional self esteem and roles played by self-efficacy, body composition, and physical activity (PA) in changes in esteem. Design. Four-month randomized controlled exercise trial with three arms: walking, yoga, and control. Subjects. Previously low-active middle-aged women (n = 164; M age = 49.9; SD = 3.6). Intervention. Structured and supervised walking program meeting three times per week for 1 hour and supervised yoga program meeting twice per week for 90 minutes. Measures. Body composition, fitness assessment, and battery of psychologic measures. Analysis. Panel analysis within a structural equation modeling framerwork using Mplus 3.0. Results. The walking and yoga interventions failed to enhance global or physical self-esteem but improved subdomain esteem relative to physical condition and strength (for walking) and body attractiveness (for both walking and yoga). Over time the effects of PA, self-efficacy, and body fat on changes in physical self-esteem and global esteem were mediated by changes in physical condition and body attractiveness subdomain esteem. Women reporting greater levels of self-efficacy and PA with lower body fat also reported greater enhancements in subdomain esteem. Conclusion. These results provide support for the hierarchic and multidimensional nature of self-esteem and indicate that middle-aged women may enhance certain aspects of physical self-esteem by participating in PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Exercise
  • Midlife
  • Physical activity
  • Physical self
  • Prevention research
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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