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Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale


Resnick and Jenkins (2000)

Background and Development:

The Self-Efficacy for Exercise (SEE) scale is a revision of McAuley's (1990; unpublished) self-efficacy barriers to exercise measure, a 13-item instrument that focuses on self-efficacy expectations related to the ability to continue exercising in the face of barriers to exercise. This measure was developed initially for sedentary adults in the community who participated in an outpatient exercise program including biking, rowing, and walking. The revision of McAuley's self-efficacy barriers to exercise measure was based on a combined quantitative and qualitative study exploring factors that influenced adherence to a regular walking program for older adults.  The SEE consists of nine situations that might affect participation in exercise.  For each situation, the subject uses the scale from 0 (Not Confident) to 10 (Very Confident) to describe his current confidence that he could exercise 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time.

Initial reliability and validity testing was performed using a sample of 187 older adults living in a continuing care retirement community. The average age of the participants was 85 ± 6.2 years, and most were White (98%), female (82%), and unmarried (80%). Internal consistencty (Cronbach alpha) is high (0.92).

The SF-12 subscale scores, when controlled for age and gender, significantly predicted SEE scores. The SF-12 subscale scores for mental health accounted for 17% of the variance in SEE scores, and the SF-12 subscale scores for physical health accounted for an additional 4% of the variance in SEE scores. When controlled for age and gender, SEE scores significantly predicted exercise activity (F = 78.8; p < 0.05), accounting for 30% of the variance in exercise activity.

Assessment in Elderly Populations:

The SEE was specifically designed for older adults and developed from a nursing home population (average age 85). Further testing in elderly populations (Resnick et al. 2004) confirms the reliability and validity of the measure.

Assessment in Minority Populations:

The SEE was tested in a population of elderly African- and Latino-Americans and found to have high reliability and validity within these populations (Resnick et al. 2004).

Subsequent Studies:

Fahrenwald and Shangreaux (2006) used the SEE in a study of exercise among Native American women.  Gleeson-Kreig (2006) used the SEE in a study of an exercise intervention program among Type 2 diabetics ages 40-65.  Harnirattisai and Johnson (2005) used the SEE in a study to examine the effects of a behavioral change intervention after knee replacement surgery in a population of older Thai adults.

Design Strengths and Weaknesses:

Consisting of only 9 items, the SEE is easy to administer and interpret. 

Contact Information:

The SEE is available as a figure in Resnick and Jenkins (2000) and in the appendix of Resnick et al. (2004)


Fahrenwald, NL, P Shangreaux, (2006) Physical Activity Behavior of American Indian Mothers. Orthopaedic Nursing. 25(1):22-29.

Gleeson-Kreig, JM, (2006) Self-monitoring of Physical Activity: Effects on Self-efficacy and Behavior in People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Educator. 32(1):69-77.

Harnirattisai, T and RA Johnson (2005) Effectiveness of a Behavioral Change Intervention in Thai Elders After Knee Replacement. Nursing Research. 54(2):97-107.

McAuley, W. (1990) Self-efficacy measures. Unpublished raw data.

Resnick, B., & Jenkins, L. (2000). Testing the Reliability and Validity of the Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale. Nursing Research, 49, 154–159.

Resnick, B., D. Luisi, A. Vogel, and P. Junaleepa (2004). Reliability and validity of the self-efficacy for exercise and outcome expectations for exercise scales with minority older adults.  J Nursing Res. 12(3): 235-247.