Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 1–2, pp 19–28 | Cite as

Objectification in Fitness Centers: Self-Objectification, Body Dissatisfaction, and Disordered Eating in Aerobic Instructors and Aerobic Participants

  • Ivanka Prichard
  • Marika Tiggemann


This study was designed to investigate self-objectification, its theoretical consequences, and its relationship to reasons for exercise within a fitness center environment. Sixty female aerobic instructors and 97 female aerobic participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 45 years, completed questionnaire measures of self-objectification, reasons for exercise, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating. Increased self-objectification (and self-surveillance) was related to disordered eating symptomatology, body dissatisfaction, and appearance-related reasons for exercise. Aerobic instructors scored significantly lower on self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating than did aerobic participants, and they exercised more for enjoyment and less for appearance-related reasons. For aerobic participants, location of exercise (inside or outside the fitness center) moderated the relationship between frequency of exercise and self-objectification, such that exercising within fitness centers was associated with relatively higher self-objectification. Higher levels of self-objectification were also related to wearing tighter exercise clothing. These results support the general model of Objectification Theory, and provide practical implications for women who exercise within objectifying environments.

Key Words

self-objectification body dissatisfaction disordered eating aerobics exercise 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideSouth Australia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideSouth Australia

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