A. A. Campos Ontiveros, L. E. Fitzgerald, H. L. Quantrille, R. P.K. Nahulu, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Participation in physical activity, exercise, and sports has been previously linked to self-body image. However, the influence of exercise volume, specifically, is less well known. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exercise volume and self-body image amongst undergraduate students. METHODS: 500 full-time undergraduate students aged 18-23 years old were recruited via random and pseudo-random sampling to participate in an online survey. Of these, 119 eligible respondents (Nmale = 43, Nfemale = 72, Nnon-binary = 4) volunteered to participate in the survey. Preliminary survey questions prompted respondents to describe exercise volume and patterns. The remaining portion of survey consisted of the Body Appreciation Scale-2 to assess self-body image. Questions within this section were based on a 5-point Likert scale and a total body appreciation score was calculated based upon the sum of those responses. Due to the ordinal nature of exercise volume data, a Spearman correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship between the measured dependent variables. RESULTS: There was a moderate, positive correlation (r = 0.41, p < 0.05) between exercise volume (0-150 min/week = 44 respondents, 150-300 min/week = 37 respondents, 300+ min/week = 38 respondents) and body appreciation scores (55.5 ± 10.7). Further analysis indicated that exercise volume and body appreciation scores varied across gender which elicited different relationships (males: r = 0.22, females: r = 0.43). CONCLUSION: As a whole, exercise volume was positively linked with body image for this sample population. However, the present results should be cautiously interpreted due to differences between genders. Males tended to report higher body appreciation scores and disproportionately higher exercise volumes than females, yet males demonstrated a weaker relationship between these variables. Further research may be necessary to better understand how other aspects of exercise, such as frequency or intensity may influence self-body image in undergraduate students.

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