Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Scott G. Piland

Second Advisor

Melissa Thompson

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


This project examined the link between race and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy pertains to an individual’s confidence in ability to complete or engage in a particular task or activity (Bandura, 1986). Prior research shows that self-efficacy has a great influence on exercise initiation and adherence (Bandura, 1986; Dishman, 1982; Rodgers and Sullivan, 2001). Research also supports that Caucasians are more likely to participate in exercise than African Americans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000).

Participants included 51 females, 31 Caucasians and 20 African Americans, between the ages of 18 and 50 years old. The women were recruited from local fitness gyms, Curves, the YMCA, and Forrest General Wellness. Using a nine question barrier self-efficacy scale, participants were asked to rate their confidence in their ability to exercise under varying conditions. The responses for each participant were then summed to obtain a total. The frequency of survey answers for Caucasians and African Americans was then compared to see if there was a difference between the two races. African American participants had a mean of 55.45. Caucasian participants scored a mean of 58.67. The results showed that there was no significant difference between African Americans and Caucasians. Further research involving a larger population is required to determine whether race has an influence on self-efficacy. In the event of evident differences, this study can serve as a precedent for further research. Interventions to raise self-efficacy levels, subsequently increasing exercise participation, may follow.