Self-Efficacy and the Perceived Impact of Information Use in the Context of Physical Activity and Exercise

Heidi Enwald* Heidi Enwald*, Information Studies, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Noora Hirvonen, Information Studies, University of Oulu / Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland
Raija Korpelainen, Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland
Maija-leena Huotari, Information Studies, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship, and sociotechnical issues
Presentation Type: Poster presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Last modified: 2012-09-12

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Background: Bandura has concluded that empowerment of an individual operates through self-efficacy. Self-efficacy, defined as individuals´ situation specific confidence in their own competence to perform given actions, is known to be an important predictor of behavior. Research suggests that self-efficacy beliefs influence the choices individuals make, the effort they put forth, and the feelings concerning a behavior. Moreover, self-efficacy may influence the way individuals perceive information concerning a behavior thus affecting the impact of health communication. In the context of eHealth higher levels of eHealth self-efficacy have been associated with perceived impact of using information.
Objective: In this study we aim at investigating the relationship between self-efficacy and perceived impact of information use in the context of exercise and physical activity among young Finnish men.
Methods: This study is part of larger MOPO-study. The empirical data was collected with a questionnaire administered at the Finnish Defence Force´s mandatory call ups in Northern Finland in 2011 (n=1260). The questionnaire response rate for the questions utilized in this study was 46.4% (n=585). The respondents were asked, whether they agree with statements concerning the impact of exercise and physical activity information on their cognition, affect, and behavior. Exercise self-efficacy was assessed with an 18-item scale which measures respondents´ confidence in their ability to sustain regular exercise in varying situations.
Results: The young men were classified into three groups according to their exercise self-efficacy levels: 27.1% (n=158) were classified into low, 43.5% (n=254) into mediocre, and 29.5% (n=172) into high exercise self-efficacy category. Cross-tabulations revealed that those with high self-efficacy levels were more likely to have learned something new (Monte-Carlo estimation of Fisher´s exact test, p=0.000) and perceived information concerning exercise or physical activity as conflicting (p=0.044) (impact on cognition). Moreover, they had considered information as motivational (impact on affect) (p=0.000) and had changed behaviors after receiving information (impact on behavior) (p=0.000) more likely than those with mediocre of low levels of exercise self-efficacy. Those with low exercise self-efficacy were least likely to perceive information as influential to their cognitions, affects, and behavior.
Conclusions: The results support the role of self-efficacy as a moderating variable for perceived impact of information use. Further research is needed to explore how exercise self-efficacy levels can be influenced with the means of health communication and the concrete ways information should be delivered and presented to reach those with low exercise self-efficacy. E-Coaching service designers may take into account the result of this study by considering utilizing these differences in health information tailoring.

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