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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 measures 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 (Mean age = 19.54 ± 1.86 years; 61% female, 36% male, 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. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that substantive correlations between physical activity and exercise identity. Moreover, as indicated by the bifactor model, although there was a certain degree of multidimensionality, the preponderance of variance was captured by a general physical activity and exercise identity factor. Finally, this general factor accounted for significant variance in physical activity. Collectively, these findings suggest 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. The most appropriate factor structure for exercise identity, however, remains unclear and future research is needed among more diverse samples recruited outside of physically active contexts.


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