The influence of age and gender of an exercise model on self-efficacy and quality of therapeutic exercise performance in the elderly

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This study examined whether self-efficacy and quality of exercise performance in healthy elderly adults was influenced by the age and gender of the model who demonstrated the exercises to them. Twenty men and 20 women over 60 years of age were randomly assigned to one of four groups who viewed a videotape of a model of similar or different age and gender. The participants imitated three different exercises performed by the model. Participants rated their self-efficacy for performing the exercises before observing the model and again after imitation with the model. Analysis of variance revealed that the gender of the model influenced self-efficacy ratings of women but not men (p = .041). Elderly women who observed young or old male models provided significantly lower ratings of self-efficacy (p < .05) about correctly performing the exercises than did elderly women who observed female models of either age category. Gender and age of the model did not influence self-efficacy ratings of elderly men. Two raters blinded to group membership rated the quality of the participants' exercise form. When participants performed the exercises following modeling, analysis of variance revealed that the gender of the model previously viewed did not affect form ratings. It was concluded that matching the gender of model and observer when the observer is an elderly woman may support the observer's belief that she can perform the exercises well. In turn, this may benefit adherence to an exercise program. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Inc.

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