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Critical Factors of Social Physique Anxiety: Exercising and Body Image Satisfaction

  • Ayşe Altan Atalay (a1) and Tülin Gençöz (a2)


This study aimed to examine the critical roles of exercising and body image satisfaction on social physique anxiety (SPA) among female university students. For this aim, 118 female university students, 58 of whom exercised regularly, participated in the study. The Social Physique Anxiety Scale, Eating Attitudes Test, and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale were administered to the participants; their dieting habits were also investigated. Results revealed that approximately half of the participants used at least one unhealthy weight control method in the past 6 months. An analysis of covariance indicated that, after controlling for the effects of abnormal eating behavior, participants who were dissatisfied with their body image and did not participate in a regular exercise activity experienced higher social physique anxiety. However, such a tendency was not found for social anxiety. Thus, these characteristics seem to be specific to social physique anxiety. It was concluded that individuals who have negative view of their appearance were more prone to experience SPA, and they might be avoiding exercise for self presentational purposes. Findings were discussed in the light of literature.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Professor Tülin Gençöz, Department of Psychology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 06531, Turkey.
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Behaviour Change
  • ISSN: 0813-4839
  • EISSN: 2049-7768
  • URL: /core/journals/behaviour-change
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