John W. Nulty

Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Katherine M. Polasek, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erik Lind, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joy L. Hendrick, Ph.D.


The aim of the study was to explore a relationship between social physique anxiety (SPA) and physical activity using the framework of self-determination theory. Specifically, self-determination theory was analyzed on two levels in comparison with social physique anxiety. Two hundred thirty nine participants responded to four questionnaires (Godin Leisure-time Exercise Questionnaire, Social Physique Anxiety Scale, Behavioral Regulations in Exercise Questionnaire, and Exercise Self-Regulation Questionnaire) administered through an online survey. Participants also provided basic demographic information (e.g., height, age, major). Statistical analyses showed no significant relationship (p > .05) between SPA and physical activity. Additional analyses were run to examine group differences between SPA groups. A MANOVA showed significant differences (p < .05) between the high SPA and moderate SPA group as well as the high SPA and low SPA group for external motivation. Further, the groups significantly differed for external and introjected regulation. Physical activity groups significantly differed (p < .05) from each other for both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, as well as for introjected, identified, and intrinsic regulations. Considering the finding that the high SPA group was extrinsically motivated, there might be a connection to leisure-time activity participation. The regulatory motives behind SPA (external and introjected) showed slight overlap from the regulations behind physical activity (introjected, identified, and intrinsic), possibly expressing an indirect connection. Future research needs to be completed to examine other possible factors that can influence SPA (i.e., self-esteem, body image, and past exercise participation).