The mirror does not lie: Acute exercise and self-efficacy

Jeffrey A. Katula, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although acute bouts of exercise have consistently been found to enhance self-efficacy, recent evidence suggests that the exercise environment may moderate this relation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of an acute bout of exercise performed in environments differing in self-evaluative potential on self-efficacy. Forty-three female undergraduates performed 20 min of aerobic exercise in front of and in the absence of a full-length mirror. Self-efficacy was assessed at 4 time points: before entry into the experimental condition, pre-exercise, postexercise, and 20 min postexercise. Results revealed that self-efficacy did not significantly change following exercise or recovery in the no mirror condition. However, the mirror condition resulted in moderate increases in self-efficacy postexercise and large increases following recovery. Results indicate that self-evaluation following exercise may increase one's perceptions of capabilities and appear to be in contrast to past research demonstrating a negative effect of mirrors on self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Environment
  • Exercise
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-evaluation
  • Social cognitive theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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