Justin Kompf

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Erik Lind, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John T. Foley, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Peter M. McGinnis, Ph.D.


Resistance training is a form of physical activity that provides substantial health benefits. Despite these widespread benefits, participation in resistance training is considerably low, particularly among females. To engage in a skill-related activity such as resistance training, individuals need to have confidence in their abilities. Self-efficacy is a cognitive construct that is used to describe situation-specific self-confidence. Descriptive norms are a type of social norm that describes the behavior of others. Descriptive norms have been useful in positively changing health related behaviors. The exact mechanism of how descriptive norms alter behavior is unknown. However, it has been show in research that descriptive norm messages can change self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect a descriptive norm message would have on resistance training selfefficacy. Participants in this study were college-aged females (n=12; 19.8 ±1.4 years) with no resistance training experience. Participants completed four 30 minute resistance training sessions and had their resistance training self-efficacy measured at three separate time points: prior to the initial resistance training experience, after the third resistance training session, and after the fourth resistance training session. Each training session was separated by a minimum of 48 hours. At the end of the fourth training session, participants received a descriptive norm message that either 30% (accurate norm group) or 50% (high norm group) of college-aged females engaged in resistance training for 30 minutes two times per week. An independent sample t-test was run to determine if differences existed between high and accurate norm groups. There were no significant difference between groups on self-efficacy scores for the final self-efficacy questionnaire, t(10)= 1.710, p = .137. A repeated measures ANOVA was run to determine if any differences existed within the groups from session one to session three and session four. Self-efficacy significantly increased from session 1 to session 3 (p < 0.05) and from session 1 to session 4 (p < .005), but not from session 3 to session 4 (p = .124). From the first to final self-efficacy questionnaire, participants increased confidence by 26.4% (±20.4). The results of this study suggest that experience is a strong source of resistance training self-efficacy for novice college-aged females and that descriptive norm messages do not have a significant influence on resistance training self efficacy.