Exercise Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jody Langdon


Previous research has shown significant differences in the intensity of exercise performance and perceived body image between individuals with and without an exercise partner (Plante et al., 2010). Little research has been found which has compared the psychological factors between those who exercise with a group class and those who exercise alone. The purpose of this research study was to compare self-esteem, body image, and physical activity motives between individuals who engage in group exercise and those who exercise alone. It was expected that self-esteem, motivation and body esteem would be significantly higher in those that participate in group exercise than those who exercise by themselves. Participants included 126 college-aged students (31 males, 95 females) at a southeastern university who engaged in either group exercise classes (N = 40) or solo exercise (N = 86). The majority of students were white, non-Hispanic (69.8%) and senior students (53.2%). Participants completed a battery of surveys that measured self-esteem, body esteem, and motives of physical activity: The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Body Esteem Scale, and Motives of Physical Activity-Revised Scale. Data was analyzed by t-tests for each subscale. Since no male participants participated in group fitness classes, comparisons were only made among the female participants. Results showed that there was no significant difference between the groups on any measured construct. Means for self-esteem, body esteem, and motives for physical activity were all similar and high. These results are not consistent with previous literature on body esteem and performance, but do show the regardless of the exercise setting, college-age females had high levels of self-esteem and body-esteem. Another interesting was the high levels of both intrinsic and extrinsic motives for physical activity. In conclusion, physical activity engagement in the areas of group exercise and solo exercise are both beneficial for maintaining higher levels of self-esteem, body esteem, and motives for physical activity within this small sample.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons