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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Margaret E. Ciccolella

First Committee Member

Gary N. Howells

Second Committee Member

S. Thomas Stubbs


The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in an exercise based fat reduction program would affect body image. A second purpose was to determine if there were a relationship between psychological measures of body image and changes in percent body fat, total body weight, and/or cardiovascular fitness. Male and female differences were also examined. The participants consisted of nine middle aged males and twenty-six middle-aged females enrolled in a fat and/or weight reduction program. Data were collected at the beginning of the program and again at the end of the 12-week program. Body image was measured utilizing the Body Self Relations Questionnaire (BSRQ) (Winstead & Case, 1984). Percent body fat was determined by the protocol established by Pollock, Schmidt, and Jackson (1980), while cardiovascular fitness was measured using the YMCA bicycle ergometer test (Golding, Myers, & Sinning, 1982). Results of the t tests indicate that there was a significant improvement in pre-test to post-test in the perception of physical appearance t(16) = 4.68, p < .001 and physical health t(16) = 2.74, p < .01 pretest to post-test. The absolute change in percent body fat and total body weight decreased by 8% and 3%, respectively. Cardiovascular fitness increased by 23%. A Pearson product-moment correlation test determined there was a nonsignificant relationship between changes in physiological measures and psychological measures. Of these relationships, the strongest correlation occurred between cardiovascular difference and physical fitness difference pre-test to post-test (r = .4783, p > .05). Results from a discriminant analysis failed to reliably discriminate between males and females with respect to psychological andjor physiological measures. There were no significant differences between the adhering and non-adhering group in any of the pre-test measures. The largest difference was measured on the physical fitness subscale of the BSRQ, t(33) = 1.68, p = .10. The results indicate that changes in body image may not be due to physiological changes, but to the cognitive perception or interpretation of that improvement. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict who will complete a fat reduction program based on pre-test measures.



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