The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of demographic dissimilarity from others on subsequent perceptions of differences and affective reactions toward physical activity classes. Students (N = 384) from a large southern university participated in the study. Structural equation modeling indicated that actual demographic dissimilarity from others in the class was positively related to perceptions of such differences. In addition, perceived demographic dissimilarity was positively associated with perceived deep-level differences (i.e., differences based on values, attitudes, and personality), which in turn negatively impacted affective reactions toward the class. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical contributions and implications for teaching physical activity classes.
The author is with the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4243.