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Title: The influence of perfectionism on social physique anxiety
Author: Petherick, Caroline Margaret
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2002
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Activity promotion advocates regular exercise as a way of reducing mortality, thus providing a cost-effective strategy for public health improvement. However, many individuals embarking on a regime have unpleasant experiences and are more likely to withdraw. One construct identified in the literature that may contribute to this negative affect is social physique anxiety (SPA; Hart et al., 1989). Although the correlates and consequencesa ssociatedw ith SPA have provided invaluable insight, there still lacks conceptual focus. Therefore, adopting the tenets of Lazarus (1999), one individual difference factor important in the cognitive appraisal process that may contribute to SPA is perfectionism (Hewitt & Flett, 1991). This motivational construct has been found to influence the appraisal process and predispose individuals to experience anxiety. Therefore, the purpose of Study 1 was to firstly, investigate the influence of individual differences in perfectionism on SPA and to secondly, explore the mediating influence of coping strategies on SPA, threat, and levels of enjoyment among beginner exercise class participants. In the first part of Study 1, four hundred and four (376 females, 28 males) participants completed measures of social physique anxiety, perfectionism, ability, importance, capacity beliefs, self-efficacy, threat, and enjoyment. In the second part of Study 1, only those participants who deemed that being good at exercise was important to them (N = 317) were used in the analyses. Path analyses results using structural equation modelling procedures provided adequate support for the first part of Study 1 (x I /df = 2.41, BBNNFI = 0.96, Robust CFI = 0.99), and little support for the second part of Study 1 (x2/df = 7.87, BBNNFI = 0.66, Robust CFI = 0.77). Although the research has acknowledged the importance of secondary 11 appraisal characteristics as contributing to threat, the importance of differing motivational orientations as contributing to variations in cognitions and affective responses (Deci & Ryan, 1985) may be equally important. Therefore, in addition to Study 1, the purpose of Study 2 was to investigate the influence of perfectionism on levels of self-determination (Deci & Ryan, 1985), SPA, threat, and enjoyment through the mediational role of perceived competence and autonomy. In addition to the measures used in Study 1, two hundred and eighteen participants (192 females, 26 males) further completed a measure of locus of causality for exercise and a measure of regulation in exercise behaviour. Path analyses results provided little support for Study 2 (x 2/df= 11.85, BBNNFI = 0.23, Robust CFI = 0.27). Overall, the results from the second part of Study 1 and Study 2 provide little support for the hypothesised relationships due to the overall poor fit of the models found. However, the results of the first part of Study 1 provided adequate fit indices suggesting that socially prescribed perfectionism more than self oriented perfectionism influences SPA. In turn SPA significantly and negatively influenced self-efficacy as would be expected. Furthermore, both self-efficacy and capacity beliefs significantly and positively influenced exercise enjoyment. The importance of investigating perfectionism and other individual difference factors as antecedents of SPA are discussed, and future research recommendations proposed. 111
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Exercise enjoyment