The Relationships Among Physical Activity Participation, Health Related Self-Efficacy, and Levels of Stress of College Students in Taiwan

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Judith E. Beauford


William Carleton


Dianna Tison


Maureen Rauschhuber


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among physical activity participation, health related self-efficacy, and levels of stress of college students in southern Taiwan. Self-efficacy theory as a theoretical framework explains individuals’ beliefs about themselves. Participants were 117 female and 323 male college students randomly selected from five schools. The participants were asked to complete a single survey booklet including three instruments and a demographic questionnaire. The Global Measure of Perceived Stress Scale was used to assess levels of stress. The Health- Specific Self-Efficacy Scale measured students’ self-efficacy in the health domain. The Physical Activity Identity was used to understand the degree of role-identity in physical activity. Data analysis revealed that students with higher stress levels had good intentions to exercise, but did not act on them. The physical activity self-efficacy proved to be a major factor to predict perceived stress but did not reveal a significant relationship with physical activity behaviors. Physical activity identity and total health related self-efficacy were cognitive factors influencing students’ perceptions and behaviors in physical activity. A combination of cognitive factors including perceived stress, nutrition self-efficacy, physical activity self-efficacy, alcohol resistance self-efficacy, and physical activity identity predicted students’ healthy or unhealthy coping mechanisms with an average overall percentage of correct classification of 73%. Nearly 21% identified physical activity as a major strategy to cope with stress. Gender and students’ majors showed significant differences in health domains. The results suggest that physical education courses enable students to experience an enjoyable and valuable learning setting.

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