Bodies on Display: Female Aerobic Instructors and Social Physique Anxiety

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Heather A. Hausenblas University of Florida

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Kathleen A. Martin McMaster University

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Social physique anxiety (SPA) is a subtype of social anxiety that stems from self-presentational concerns about the appearance of one’s physique. The purpose of the present study was to examine correlates of SPA among individuals who instruct in a high social evaluation setting. Data from 286 female aerobic instructors (M age = 34.11) were collected on SPA, age, body mass index (BMI), exposure to the exercise setting (number of years spent instructing and participating in aerobic classes), and motive for instructing (leadership, affect enhancement, self-presentational). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that BMI, age, and motive for instructing accounted for 25% of the variance in SPAS scores, F(6, 223) = 12.11, p < .0001. Women who instructed for self-presentational motives had significantly higher SPA compared to women who instructed for leadership and affect enhancement motives. Contrary to hypothesis, the amount of exposure to the aerobic exercise setting was unrelated to SPA. Based on this result, we suggest that repeated exposure to a physique salient environment does not diminish women’s self-presentational concerns about their bodies.

Please address all correspondence to: Heather A. Hausenblas Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences College of Health and Human Performance FLG 146 PO Box 118205 Gainesville, FL 326 1 l-8205 Phone: 352-392-0584 ext. 292 Fax: 352-392-5262 Email:

Heather A. Hausenblas is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Florida, PO Box 118205, Gainesville, FL, 3261 l-8205. Kathleen A. Martin is with the Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4Kl.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Heather A. Hausenblas, ESS FLG 146, PO Box 118205, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 3261 l-8205, Phone: 352-392-0584 ext. 292, email:

We thank the Canadian Aerobic Instructors Association for its cooperation with data collection for this study. Both authors gratefully acknowledge the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for its support through postdoctoral and doctoral fellowships.

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