BACKGROUND: Physical activity has been consistently associated with enhanced quality of life (QOL) in older adults. However, the nature of this relationship is not fully understood. In this study of community dwelling older adults, we examined the proposition that physical activity influences global QOL through self-efficacy and health-status. METHODS: Participants (N = 321, M age = 63.8) completed measures of physical activity, self-efficacy, global QOL, physical self worth, and disability limitations. Data were analyzed using covariance modeling to test the fit of the hypothesized model. RESULTS: Analyses indicated direct effects of a latent physical activity variable on self-efficacy but not disability limitations or physical self-worth; direct effects of self-efficacy on disability limitations and physical self worth but not QOL; and direct effects of disability limitations and physical self-worth on QOL. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the role of self-efficacy in the relationship between physical activity and QOL as well as an expanded QOL model including both health status indicators and global QOL. These findings further suggest future PA promotion programs should include strategies to enhance self-efficacy, a modifiable factor for improving QOL in this population.
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