Term of Award

Fall 1998

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

James McMillan

Committee Member 1

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 2

Kevin L. Burke


The purpose of this investigation was to explore the effectiveness of walking and aerobics as a way of modifying body image apprehension and self-esteem of female college students. Participants from this study comprised 88 (25 African Americans and 63 Caucasians) students from a Southeastern university. The participants were administered the 9-item Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) (Martin, Rejeski, Leary, McAuley, & Bane, 1997) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) (Rosenberg, 1979). Body composition, body weight, body height, and body mass index (BMI) were also evaluated. The participants performed in a 9-week walking or aerobics physical activity class. At the completion of the 9-weeks of activity were completed, the participants were re-evaluated on the questionnaires and anthropometric measures. Two way ANOVAs with repeated measures were used to analyze the information in order to assess the effects the two forms of exercise, race, and room position had on the pre-test and post-test evaluations of body weight, body height, body composition, the social physique anxiety, and self-esteem. The alpha level was set at p=.05. Results revealed no significant differences between class on the physiological or psychological variables. Additionally, race and aerobic room position analyzes did not show any significant differences with the physiological or psychological variables. However, there were main effects with the SPAS and RSES between the physical activity classes, race, and aerobics room positions. The participants' scores did decrease, even without the presence of physiological changes. In conclusion, psychological variables can decrease without the positive changes of any physiological changes, such as a decrease in body weight, BMI, or body composition.


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