Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 1

Daniel Czech

Committee Member 2

Bridget Melton


Hart, Leary, and Rejeski (1989) defined the anxiety and/or fear associated with one’s physique being evaluated as Social Physique Anxiety (SPA). Since then, numerous studies have examined this psychological construct (Crawford & Eklund, 1994; Focht & Hausenblas, 2004; Russell & Cox, 2003). However, little research has been found examining this phenomenon within current college students. The purpose of the present study was to analyze the association between SPA, gender, and self-efficacy levels among college-aged students experiencing physical activity courses requiring exercise. A secondary purpose of this study was to qualitatively examine specific physique qualities among those with high and low levels of SPA. Participants included 237 undergraduate students at a Southeastern University participating in jogging, body conditioning, or weight training courses. After separating participants into high/low categories based on self-efficacy scores, analyses were conducted on the remaining 106 male (n = 56) and female (n = 50) participants. Results of the study indicated a significant, inverse relationship between SPA and self-efficacy (r = -.67). Analysis of Variance yielded a significant main effect for gender, as females experienced significantly higher SPA (p =.004). Qualitative themes identified those experiencing high SPA had a dislike for their physique, leading to feelings of a need for physique improvement and lower self-confidence. In contrast, those experiencing low SPA were pleased with their physique, and felt comfortable in social settings. This information could aid in creating interventions designed to decrease SPA prevalence (Scott, 2005) and increase levels of self-efficacy among the current college-aged student population.