Introduction: This cross-sectional study was carried out on 400 women selected from urban health centers in Isfahan through stratified sampling. The study was designed to evaluate the social cognitive theoretical model in explaining determinants of physical activity among women using path analysis method.
Methods: In a hypothetical framework, the relationship between self-efficacy, outcome expectation, social support and self-regulation and physical activity were assessed using path analysis and indices of fitness. Furthermore, the predictive power of the model was evaluated.
Results: Social cognitive theoretical model had a good predictive power for physical activity. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed the suitability of the theoretical model; this model is able to cover 80 % of physical activity variance. Evaluation of social cognitive theoretical model using path analysis showed that self-regulation was the strongest determinant of physical activity. Social support and outcome expectation had very weak effects on physical activity; nonetheless, their effect was enhanced by the presence of self-regulation. Self-efficacy had a weak effect on physical activity, however as an intermediate variable, it reinforced the impact of social support and outcome expectation on physical activity.
Conclusions: The use of the present hypothetical model is suggested as an appropriate framework in research related to physical activity among women as well as to strengthening self-regulation skills in designing and implementing programs promoting physical activities.
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