Social environmental factors and psychological responses to acute exercise for socially physique anxious females

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Objectives:This study examined whether social-environmental factors influenced the psychological responses to participation in a single session of group fitness exercise for females with heightened body image concerns.Design/Methods:Socially physique anxious female college age students participated in this study (N=99). A randomized 2×2 factorial design was used to examine the effect of leadership style (health versus appearance oriented) and mirrors (present or absent) on affective responses, enjoyment, self-efficacy, and future intentions.Results:ANCOVA revealed that participants in the health oriented class reported more positive affective experiences than those in the appearance oriented classes with effect sizes (ES) ranging from .47 to .61. They also enjoyed exercise more (ES=.40) and reported being more likely to join a similar class in the future (ES=.69). Mirrors did not influence psychological responses by themselves or in conjunction with leadership style.Conclusions:Exercise leader behavior influences the quality of the exercise experience for individuals with social physique anxiety by creating a health or appearance oriented class atmosphere.

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