Exercise Psychology in the Fitness Profession: The Personal Trainer Exercise Psychology Survey

Adam Wright, Temple University, USA

Theme: Teaching sport and exercise psychology

Poster Number: 68

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


This study examined 474 certified personal trainers’ responses to the Personal Trainer Exercise Psychology Survey (PTEPS), a questionnaire developed to measure trainers’ perceptions of confidence in their applied skills related to exercise psychology, as well as their perceptions of importance placed on these constructs during client interactions. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) of the PTEPS Level of Confidence of Knowledge and Importance scales indicated evidence of a two-factor structure for both models, with subscales reflecting psychoeducational and interpersonal dimensions. Composite scores for each subscale were created and further evaluated to assess the influence of demographic characteristics. Results suggested that an academic degree in exercise science is not associated with personal trainers’ confidence in their knowledge of these types of skills or their perceptions of the importance of these skills in client interactions. However, formal academic coursework and continuing education in exercise psychology significantly increased trainers’ perceptions of the importance of these skills, and their level of confidence in applying these skills. Results also indicated that women rated skills associated with interpersonal exercise psychology constructs to be more important than did men. In addition, age, years of experience, and the average number of personal training sessions a week influenced perceptions. Undergraduate programs and organizations that educate and certify personal trainers should require coursework in exercise psychology that incorporates both psychoeducational and interpersonal content applicable to the field of personal training. Directions for future research are discussed.

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