Physical activity and physique anxiety in older adults: Fitness, and efficacy influences

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Employing a randomized controlled trial, this study documents the effects of six months of physical activity and six month follow-up on reduction in social physique anxiety (SPA) in older adults. In addition, the role played by changes in behavioral, physiological, and psychological predictors of changes in SPA were examined. Participants (n = 174, mean age = 65 yrs) were randomly assigned to one of two activity groups and engaged in a six-month structured exercise program. Measures of physique anxiety were taken at baseline, six and twelve months. Latent growth curve analyses revealed significant reductions in SPA over the course of the 12-month period. Structural analyses controlling for treatment condition indicated that improvements in self-efficacy and fitness were significant predictors of changes in SPA but that changes in body fat and exercise frequency did not contribute to variation in SPA. Overall this model accounted for 19% of the variation in SPA changes. The extent to which changes in SPA may contribute to continued physical activity participation in older adults and how exercise programs might effectively influence predictors of SPA are discussed.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Aging and Mental Health