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An Examination of the Psychometric Properties of the Exercise Identity Scale and its Adaptation to Physical Activity




measurement, self-schema, post-intentional processes, reflexive process


Research has shown exercise identity is one of the strongest predictors of physical activity behavior. However, exercise is a subset of the broader construct of physical activity and therefore existing instruments such as the Exercise Identity Scale may underestimate the relationship between identity and physical activity behavior. This study investigated whether exercise and physical activity identity are conceptually distinct factors, the most appropriate factor structure of the Exercise Identity Scale, and the predictive utility of the best measurement model for understanding physical activity behavior. A total of 647 undergraduate students (Mage=19.54±1.86 years; 61% female, 3% other) completed an online survey that included the Exercise Identity Scale, a modified version of the Exercise Identity Scale specific to physical activity and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form. Exploratory factor analysis largely indicated a two-factor structure that broke down not by exercise versus physical activity identity, but instead, by specific identity dimension (i.e., role identity and beliefs). Subsequently, we utilized Structural Equation Modeling to examine the unique effect of exercise/physical activity role identity and beliefs on physical activity. Results indicated role identity was positively associated with physical activity (β=0.553, p<.001) whereas the association between beliefs and physical activity was non-significant (β=-0.064, p=.338). Collectively, these findings suggest that exercise and physical activity identity largely represent a single identity domain with two factors. As such, the Exercise Identity Scale, and its modified physical activity version, can be used interchangeably without sacrificing our understanding of the strength of the identity – physical activity behavior relationship.


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2022-06-29 — Updated on 2023-04-13