Influence of Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Exercise Settings on the Social Physique Anxiety and Exercise Intentions of Males and Females

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Acadia University
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Situational social physique anxiety (SPA) and immediate exercise intentions in male and female fitness club members were examined in response to all-female, all-male, and mixed-sex exercise setting scenarios. Overall, women showed higher levels of situational SPA than men. SPA increased significantly from an all-female, to a mixed-sex, to an all-male exercise setting for women but not for men. More women indicated they would shorten their workout in response to the all-male vs. all-female or mixed-sex exercise scenarios. For all-male and mixed-sex scenarios, participants who intended to shorten their workout also tended to report higher situational SPA scores. The results indicate that the presence of men in an exercise setting stimulates physique anxiety in women, and that exercising in an all-female environment may have the least negative impact on the exercise behavior of women.

The authors are with the School of Recreation Management & Kinesiology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada B4P 2R6.

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