Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Human Performance and Health Promotion


Human Performance and Health Promotion

Major Professor

O'Hanlon, Ann

Second Advisor

Warren, Barbara


Body image (BI) reflects how a person views his or her own body, and how one thinks, feels and acts toward it. This study examined the relationship of activity (sport vs. leisure) and gender to body image among adults aged 50 years and older. The sample included 182 Senior Olympians (79 men; 103 women) with a mean age of 65.5 years. Three scales measured the components of BI: the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) measured affective BI, the Contour Rating Drawing Scale (CRDS) measured cognitive BI, and the Body Image Avoidance Questionnaire (BIAQ) measured behavioral BI. The Body Satisfaction Scale (BSS) measured satisfaction with appearance and functionality, and grip strength was used as a measure of body function. Women scored higher than men on the SPAS and the CRDS, indicating greater dissatisfaction with their affective and cognitive BI. Women also scored higher than men on the clothing and grooming behaviors of the BIAQ, while men scored higher on social avoidance. Sport participants scored higher than leisure participants on the grip strength test. Results suggest that gender differences in BI appear to persist into older adulthood. The results also suggest that the effects of sport on BI among older adults may depend in part on gender.


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