Self-doubt: Uncertainty as a motivating factor on effort in an exercise endurance task

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Objectives:Research on the relationship between self-efficacy beliefs and subsequent performance on a task has typically supported a positive linear model. However, these results typically excluded a moderate level of self-efficacy as an independent variable nor used quadratic regression analyses to test for a curvilinear relationship. There are reasons to believe that a more accurate relationship between self-efficacy and performance is curvilinear (i.e., that some self-doubt of self-efficacy may predict optimal effort) under certain circumstances.Design:The current study examined this relationship with the muscular endurance task of a plank exercise.Methods:Seventy-five participants participated in two trials of the exercise. Self-efficacy was recorded prior to each trial and performance in the plank exercise was used as an indicator of motivational effort.Results:There was a significant curvilinear relationship between efficacy and performance on the first trial and a significant linear relationship between the two on the second trial. Further analyses showed that individuals who substantially over or underestimated their abilities on the first trial did not significantly alter their effort on the second trial.Conclusions:The current study provides some support for the possibility that some self-doubt can be a motivating factor for individuals to exert maximal effort when initially attempting an exercise endurance task.HighlightsSome self-doubt may be beneficial in exerting optimal effort on new exercise tasks.Relationship between self-efficacy and performance may be curvilinear, not linear.After tasks are well-learned, relationship becomes positive and linear.

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