Features of the Exercise Environment and Body Image: Preferences for Mirror and Standing Positions in the Aerobics Room

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Study 1 examined the relationships between mirror and standing position preferences in an aerobics room and body image concerns or eating disturbances. Five hundred and seventy-one female aerobics participants completed a brief questionnaire consisting of established measures. Women who did not like mirrors and who preferred to stand at the back of the aerobics room had significantly greater body-image and eating concerns than women who liked mirrors and stood anywhere in the class. Qualitative feedback from four follow-up focus groups of 20 female aerobics participants indicated that mirrors were disliked by some and used as a motivational tool by others (Study 2). The preference for standing at the back of the room centred around not wanting to be watched by other people. Taken together, the results suggest that women’s preferences for mirror and standing positions in an aerobics room may serve as an important indicator of potential body image and eating disturbance.

Ivanka Prichard School fo Psychology Flinders University GPO Box 2100 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 E-mail: ivanka.prichard@flinders.edu.au Phone: (+61 8) 8201 2449 Fax: (+61 8) 8201 3877

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