• exercise;
  • self-efficacy expectations;
  • outcome expectations


The purpose of this study was to test a model of exercise behavior in older adults. It was hypothesized that (a) mental and physical health directly influence self-efficacy expectations; (b) mental and physical health, age, and self-efficacy expectations influence outcome expectations; and (c) all these variables directly and/or indirectly influence exercise behavior. The sample was composed of 175 older adults living in a continuing-care retirement community, each of whom was interviewed once. Seven of the 10 hypothesized paths were significant. Physical health, self-efficacy expectations, and outcome expectations directly influenced exercise behavior, and age and mental health indirectly influenced exercise through self-efficacy expectations and outcome expectations. Combined these variables accounted for 30% of the variance in exercise behavior. To improve exercise behavior in older adults, health care providers should focus on developing interventions to strengthen self-efficacy and outcome expectations related to exercise. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 24: 83–92, 2001