The influence of body dissatisfaction on cardiovascular and strength-based physical activity by gender: a self-determination theory approach

Kimberly R. More, L. Alison Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Physical activity—or lack thereof—is one behaviour that may help explain why individuals who are dissatisfied with their bodies experience poor health outcomes. Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the mediating role of behavioural regulations (i.e., autonomous and controlled) in the relation between body dissatisfaction and physical activity and to determine whether this mediated relationship was moderated by gender. Additionally, this relation was examined for both cardiovascular and strength-based physical activity. Design: A two-week daily-diary study was conducted. Measures: The Body Shape Satisfaction Questionnaire, the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire–3, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire were used to test the main hypotheses. Results: For men and women, body dissatisfaction was related to less frequent cardiovascular and strength-based activity due to lower levels of intrinsic regulation. In women, the relation between body dissatisfaction and activity (cardiovascular and strength-based) was partially mediated by controlled regulations (i.e., external and introjected). That is, women who were dissatisfied exercised more because they were more likely to feel that they had to appease others or themselves. Conclusion: The present study provides direction for targeting physical activity behaviours in college students who are dissatisfied with their bodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1450
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume34
Issue number12
Early online date4 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular activity
  • gender
  • motivation
  • self-determination theory
  • strength-based activity

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