Sex Roles

, Volume 54, Issue 3–4, pp 175–187 | Cite as

Go Figure? Body-Shape Motives are Associated with Decreased Physical Activity Participation Among Midlife Women

  • Michelle SegarEmail author
  • Donna Spruijt-Metz
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema


This study was designed to investigate the relationship between midlife women's physical activity motives and their participation in physical activity. Cross-sectional qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 59 midlife women, most of whom were well-educated European-Americans (mean age = 45.6 years). Body-shape physical activity motives (i.e., motives related to toning, shaping, and weight loss) were compared with all other types of physical activity motives combined. Participants with body-shape motives were significantly less physically active than those with non-body-shape motives (p<.01). Negative affect toward physical activity was negatively associated with participation, but did not mediate the effect of physical activity motives on participation. Body Mass Index (BMI) was not related to physical activity motives or participation. Results suggest that body-shape motives might be associated with less physical activity participation than non-body-shape motives among midlife women.


women physical activity exercise goals motives reasons for exercising 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Segar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donna Spruijt-Metz
    • 2
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of MichiganAnn Arbor
  2. 2.Institute of Health Promotion and Disease PreventionUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles

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