Differences in psychosocial determinants by gender and physical activity index among undergraduates

Hui Yin Ler, Eng Hoe Wee, Sen Kian Ling


Majority of Malaysians do not meet the recommendation of adequate and regular physical activity, with about 61.4 % (aged 15 and above) considered inactive. This study examined the differences of psychosocial determinants of physical activity in undergraduates according to gender and physical activity index category. Self-efficacy Assessment, Social Support for Exercise, Motivation and Physical Activity Enjoyment Scales were used to measure the psychosocial determinants of physical activity. The Physical Activity Index (PAI) was determined by multiplying exercise intensity, duration and frequency. The total PAI score was categorized as ‘Needs improvement’ [NI], ‘Fair’ [F], ‘Average’ [A], ‘Good’ [G] and ‘Excellent’ [E]. A total of 359 undergraduates (male = 74.4%, female = 25.6%) were conveniently surveyed. Result in physical index category revealed that 25% of the undergraduates each was in the ‘fair’ and ‘average’ category. About 15% of the undergraduates needs improvement and 34.8% was in the ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ category. Inferential statistics analyses showed psychosocial determinants of ‘self-efficacy’, ‘exercise enjoyment’, ‘motivation’ and ‘support from family’ were significant according to gender. Males involved in physical activity due to ‘self-efficacy’, ‘motivation’ and ‘enjoyment’ while females were more influenced by family support. Significant results on PAI category and psychosocial determinants were shown in self-efficacy, social support from friends, motivation, and exercise enjoyment. For ‘self-efficacy’ and ‘social support from friend’ factors, the ‘Need Improvement’ group had low self-efficacy and low social support from friends. However, for the ‘motivation’ and ‘exercise enjoyment’ factors, the ‘Needs Improvement’ was more motivated and enjoyed exercise more than other groups.


Motivation; Exercise enjoyment; Self-efficacy; Social support

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