I Hate My Body! The Relationship Between Social Physique Anxiety, Attitudes, Affect, and Exercise Motivation
Welch, Patrick G.
Asmundson, Gordon J. G.
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Social Physique Anxiety (SPA), the fear that others are negatively evaluating one's body (Hart, Leary, & Rejeski, 1989), is found in both men and women and is associated with low-self esteem, depression, and body dissatisfaction (Krane, Waldron, Stiles-Shipley, & Michalenok, 2001; McCreary & Sasse, 2000). SPA has also been found to motivate coping behaviours designed to reduce the anxiety and fear caused by this real or perceived negative evaluation (Kowalski, Mack, Crocker, Niefer, & Fleming, 2006; Sabiston, Sedgwick, Crocker, Kowalski, Mack, 2007). One such potentially adaptive behaviour is exercise; however, the motivation for exercise may be limited to aesthetic improvement, which in turn may affect the enjoyment and persistence of the behaviour. The current investigation examined the associations between SPA, drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, depression, reasons for exercise, and physical activity enjoyment in an undergraduate sample. Eighty-nine students (35 men and 54 women) from the University of Regina between the ages of 18-46 (M= 21.2 years; SD = 3.8) participated in this study. The results of the study show that SPA is significantly correlated with depression, a desire to be thin, and exercising for appearance or weight management. Comprehensive results, implications, and directions for future research are discussed. An examination of social physique anxiety, drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, depression, reasons for exercise, and physical activity enjoyment in an undergraduate sample.