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Examining the impact of exercise on body image dissatisfaction, mood and self-esteem in overweight women

Edwards, C; (1999) Examining the impact of exercise on body image dissatisfaction, mood and self-esteem in overweight women. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin. Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The main aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of exercise in the treatment of body image and mood disturbance in overweight women. The impact of exercise on self-esteem, physical self-efficacy and efficacy for weight control was also investigated. A second aim of the study was to explore factors which may contribute to the development of body image dissatisfaction in those who are overweight or obese, including an examination of the association between habitual levels of exercise and body image in the baseline data. Overweight and obese women were recruited to the study through newspaper advertisements. Three hundred and fifty questionnaires were sent to interested respondents, of which 66% were returned completed. Fifty six subjects who were eligible to participate in the experimental phase of the study, completed baseline assessments and were assigned either to the exercise (n=28) or waiting-list control (n=28) group. During the second phase of the study, subjects in the waiting-list control group were crossed over to the exercise condition and re-assessed at completion. In the exercise condition, women were instructed on a brisk walking program, requiring them to walk for up to 30 minutes on 5 days a week, over a period of 8 weeks. Program completers and waiting-list controls were compared on both physical (fitness and body measurements) and psychological variables (body image satisfaction, mood, self-esteem, physical self-efficacy, efficacy for weight control) during the experimental phase of the study. Data from the waiting-list controls, when they were crossed over to the exercise condition, were compared with data from the first exercise group. Participants were followed up 2 months after completing the exercise phase. Attrition was high in the exercise phase (35%-46%). Results for completers indicated significantly greater improvements in fitness, mood, physical self-efficacy and efficacy for weight control for those in the experimental group relative to the waiting-list controls. These findings were observed without any significant changes in weight and were replicated when the waiting-list control group were assigned to the exercise condition. There was an improvement on most measures of body image over time, in both groups, suggesting that aspects of the procedure other than exercise were responsible for the effect. The high rates of attrition limit the generalisability of the findings, which are discussed in the wider context of the development of body image dissatisfaction in those who are overweight or obese.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin. Psy
Title: Examining the impact of exercise on body image dissatisfaction, mood and self-esteem in overweight women
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129474
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