Self-Efficacy, Perceptions of Success, and Intrinsic Motivation for Exercise1


  • 1

    Preparation of this manuscript was facilitated by a grant to the first author from the National Institute on Aging (#R29 AG07907). The authors extend appreciation to Kimberly Poag, Jay Kimiecik, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Edward McAuley, Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois, Freer Hall, Urbana, 1L 61801.


A number of investigators have attempted to identify the determinants of continued participation in exercise regimens. Within a social cognitive framework, the present study examined the relationships among self-efficacy cognitions, perceptions of success, and multidimensional intrinsic motivation in the exercise domain. Multivariate analyses of variance indicated that highly efficacious individuals were more intrinsically motivated toward aerobic dance than were their less efficacious counterparts. However, multiple regression analyses revealed both perceptions of success and self-efficacy to account for significant variance in intrinsic motivation at both the composite and dimensional levels. Moreover, perceptions of success were considerably stronger predictors than were efficacy cognitions. The results are discussed in terms of the need for multiple measures of perceived success, the employment of longitudinal designs to determine the direction of causality among these variables, and possible implications for adherence issues.