Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Physical Education


Physical Education, Health and Recreation

First Advisor

Robert J. Sonstroem


This study was conducted to examine relationships among specific physical self-perceptions, a more general physical self-worth, and global self-esteem in an adult population between the ages of 30 and 65. Adults from several intact groups (N=260) were given the Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) (Fox and Corbin, 1989), Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) (Rosenberg, 1965), and several exercise history questions (Fernhall and Ausmus, 1987). The subjects were selected from members of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church community in Lexington, Massachusetts; members of the YMCA in Melrose, Massachusetts; employees of Coldwell Banker Realtors, North Kingstown, Rhode Island; members of the Adult Fitness Program at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island; and members of the Senior Swim Class, at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island.

Scale structure, relationships, and criterion validity were determined for the specific physical self-perceptions, physical self-worth, and global self-esteem. The coefficients between physical self-worth and the four self-perceptions (r's between .785 and .548 for females; r's between .798 and .623 for males) were significantly greater (p<.05) than the coefficients between the specific self-perceptions and global self-esteem (r's of between .564 and .247 for females: r's of between .544 and .316 for males). The factor analysis exhibited over lapping between physical self-worth and attractive body, but the four specific self-perceptions were shown to be independent.

The PSPP scales were found to have good criterion validity. The physical condition subscale had the best convergent validity with physical activity of all the subscales. The Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) was able to significantly{p<.001) discriminate between exercisers and non-exercisers. Using discriminant function analysis a total of 84.56 % of all female subjects were properly classified, while a total of 78.38% of all male subjects were properly. It was also determined that condition{p<.001) and strength(p<.02) were the only subscales which significantly distinguished between subjects who participated in an organized fitness program and those who did not participate.

The four specific physical self-perception scales of the PSPP were found to be valid, and independent. However, the physical self-worth scale was found to be interdependent with the attractive body scale. This questions the ability of the physical self-worth scale to act as a mediating variable, and has also led to the recommendation that the scale not be utilized in conjunction with the specific self-perception scales until it is shown to be truly independent.



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