Children's self-efficacy and proxy efficacy for after-school physical activity

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Problem:This study evaluated the psychometric properties of a scale measuring children's self-efficacy and proxy efficacy for physical activity at after-school programs and at home. Proxy efficacy was defined as children's confidence in their skills and abilities to get adults to act in their interest to provide physical activity opportunities.Methods:Children (grades 4 through 6) attending after-school programs completed a self-efficacy questionnaire relevant to their physical activity. Factorial validity was assessed with an exploratory factor analysis (n = 107) and a confirmatory factor analysis (n = 187). Next, criterion-related validity was assessed using a mixed-model analysis of covariance with school as a random effect and children level variables as fixed effects. Internal consistency reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha.Results:The questionnaire assessed three separate constructs: self-efficacy to be physically active (SEPA), proxy efficacy to influence parents to provide physical activity opportunities (PEPA-P), and proxy efficacy to influence after-school staff to provide physical activity opportunities (PEPA-S). Males had greater SEPA than females. Children who perceived greater physical activity opportunities during after-school time had greater SEPA, PEPA-P, and PEPA-S than children attending schools with fewer physical activity opportunities. Children attending schools with lower concentrations of racial/ethnic diversity and higher socioeconomic status (SES) had greater PEPA-P compared to children attending greater racial/ethnic diversity and low-SES schools.Conclusions:Self-efficacy for physical activity is a multicomponent construct and can be assessed in elementary-aged children using the reliable and valid instrument confirmed in the current study.

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