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Ivanka Prichard and Marika Tiggemann

This study aimed to identify predictors of self-objectification among exercising women. A brief questionnaire incorporating demographic questions and measures of self-objectification was completed by 133 new female fitness center members (aged 16 to 68 years) upon joining a fitness center and 12 months later. Results demonstrated that young women who remained fitness center members had greater self-objectification at 12 months than women who ceased their memberships. Furthermore, both initial age and reasons for exercise predicted subsequent increases in self-objectification. Specifically, being younger, as well as being more motivated by appearance-related reasons to exercise, predicted self-objectification at 12 months. These findings suggest that young women exercising within the fitness center environment may be at an increased risk of developing self-objectification, one of the predictors of negative body image and disordered eating.

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Ivanka Prichard and Marika Tiggemann

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.