Body-Related Envy: A Social Comparison Perspective in Sport and Exercise

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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These three studies sought to better understand experiences of body-related envy and to examine the association with motivation and exercise behavior in young adult males and females. In an interview study, participants (N = 11) discussed body-related envy within a framework of social comparison. In Study 2, a thematic content analysis was conducted on self-reported narratives of body-related envy experiences reported by 288 participants. Themes of body-related envy triggers, cognitions, and cognitive and behavioral outcomes were identified. Findings from Studies 1 and 2 highlighted the possible link between body-related envy and exercise motivation and behavior. Study 3 tested these associations with males and females (N = 595) who completed a self-report questionnaire. In the structural equation model, body-related envy was positively associated with external, introjected, and identified regulations, and identified regulation was positively associated with exercise behavior. Taken together, the importance of body-related envy in the experience of cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes related to sport and exercise contexts is highlighted.

Eva Pila and Catherine M. Sabiston are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Angela Stamiris and Andree Castonguay are with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.