The purpose of this research was to examine whether exercisers and nonexercisers are rated similarly on a variety of characteristics by a sample of randomly selected regular exercisers, nonexercisers who intend to exercise, and nonexercisers with no intention to exercise. Previous research by Martin Ginis et al. (2003) has demonstrated an exerciser stereotype that advantages exercisers. It is unknown, however, the extent to which an exerciser stereotype is shared by nonexercisers, particularly nonintenders. Following an item-generation procedure, a sample of 470 (n = 218 men; n = 252 women) people selected using random digit dialing responded to a questionnaire assessing the extent to which they agreed that exercisers and nonexercisers possessed 24 characteristics, such as “happy,” “fit,” “fat,” and “lazy.” The results strongly support a positive exerciser bias, with exercisers rated more favorably on 22 of the 24 items. The degree of bias was equivalent in all groups of respondents. Examination of the demographic characteristics revealed no differences among the three groups on age, work status, or child-care responsibilities, suggesting that there is a pervasive positive exerciser bias.
Wendy M. Rodgers, Craig R. Hall, Philip M. Wilson and Tanya R. Berry
Anca Gaston, Anita Grace Cramp and Harry Prapavessis
Little is known about how women who exercise during pregnancy are perceived. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the positive exercise stereotype (i.e., the general tendency for exercisers to be evaluated more positively than nonexercisers) extends to pregnancy. Adult women (N = 202, mean age = 38.55 years, SD = 13.46) were randomly assigned to read a description of one of the following pregnant female targets: regular exerciser, active living, excessive exerciser, nonexerciser, or control. Participants then rated the target on 12 personality and 8 physical dimensions. MANOVAs revealed a significant main effect for both physical and personality attributes (p < .05). The regular exerciser and active living target received the most positive ratings on both physical and personality dimensions. Whereas the excessive exerciser received high ratings on most physical characteristics, this target was also perceived as meaner and sadder, and having fewer friends than all other targets.
Rachael C. Stone, Shane N. Sweet, Marie-Josée Perrier, Tara MacDonald, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung
disability as more competent fails to enhance perceptions of competence among able-bodied adults ( Cuddy et al., 2008 ), one strategy that continues to show promise is associating a stigmatized group with physical activity participation, also known as the exerciser stereotype ( Arbour, Latimer, Martin
Kelly P. Arbour, Amy E. Latimer, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis and Mary E. Jung
This study examined whether the positive impressions formed of able-bodied exercisers extend to people with a physical disability. Participants (226 women and 220 men) read a description of a man or woman with a spinal cord injury who was described as an exerciser, nonexerciser, or control, and then rated the target (i.e., the person being described in the vignette) on 17 personality and 9 physical dimensions. Results revealed significantly more favorable ratings for the exerciser than both the nonexerciser and control on almost all dimensions. Additionally, the male control target was rated more favorably than the female counterpart on three personality and two physical attributes. Evidently, the exerciser stereotype may undermine negative impressions of people with physical disabilities.