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Current and ideal physique choices in exercising and nonexercising college women from a pilot athletic image scale

, : Current and ideal physique choices in exercising and nonexercising college women from a pilot athletic image scale. Perceptual and Motor Skills 81(3 Pt 1): 831-848

An Athletic Image Scale including female physiques with and without muscular definition is currently in the developmental phase. With shading, contouring, and three-dimensionality not offered previously on figure-rating scales, this instrument was designed to examine an apparent growing interest on the part of women in atheletic body-image ideals. The athletic level of each figure on the scale was based on responses of a group of college women. The 30-figure pilot scale was then tested by rating current and ideal body-shape preferences of two groups of first-year college women, 65 who exercised regularly and 45 who engaged in no regular exercise. Analysis showed no relationship between current and ideal physique choice and exercise status. Most exercising and nonexercising women chose a mesomorphic ideal physique with upper-body muscularity unlikely to occur without substantial amounts of physical activity. The associations among exercise status, figure choice, subscale scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, and Self-esteem Scale scores were also examined. Women choosing moderately mesomorphic figures as their current shape had the lowest Body Dissatisfaction scale scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory irrespective of exercise status. Current- and ideal-shape preferences were not related to self-esteem scores. The pilot Athletic Image Scale offered several figures which seemed to be relevant to women although it must be noted that the scale purposely emphasized particular physiques. Even so, it is important to recognize that greater than sixty percent of the women preferred images with athletic physiques which are not offered on figurerating scales presently in use.


PMID: 8668441

DOI: 10.2466/pms.1995.81.3.831

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