The Self-Conceptions and Health Behaviors of Larger Women: Examining the Mediating Role of Affect

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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This study examined possible determinants of some of the health behaviors of larger women. Specifically, it was of interest to discern if affect (depression, social physique anxiety) mediated the relationship between self-conceptions (global self-worth, perceived physical appearance) and behavior (disordered eating, physical activity). The investigation was grounded in the model of self-worth forwarded by Harter (1987). A total of 71 overweight or obese women agreed to participate in the study. Data collection involved a researcher meeting individually with each of the participants to record physical assessments as well as responses to a packet of self-report questionnaires. A series of canonical correlation analyses were then conducted to test each of the three conditions for mediation effects outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). Results suggested that indeed the set of self-conceptions indirectly influenced the set of behaviors via the set of affect variables. Surprisingly, however, involvement in physical activity failed to contribute to the multivariate relationships. The findings further our understanding of how self-conceptions are related to behavior and highlight the value of examining multiple health behaviors in parallel.

Vicki Ebbeck, Ph.D. Oregon State University 222 Langton Hall Dept. of EXSS Corvallis, OR 97331 Email: vicki.ebbeck@oregonstate.edu

Susan S. Levy, Ph.D. San Diego State University Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences San Diego, CA 92182 Email: slevy@mail.sdsu.edu

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