Eating disturbance, Body Image Dissatisfaction and Reasons for Exercising: Gender Differences and Correlational Findings

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Samples of physically active males (n = 700) and females (n = 91) were assessed for eating disturbance, body dissatisfaction, self‐esteem, and reasons for engaging in exercise. The results indicated that women's motivation for exercise was more often related to weight and tone reasons than men. In addition, for both genders, exercising for weight, tone, and attractiveness reasons was highly correlated with other measures of disturbance. However, exercising because of health was positively associated with self‐esteem for both sexes. For men only, exercising for fitness was related to lower levels of eating disturbance and higher self‐esteem. Overall activity level was related to greater eating disturbance for women, but less body dissatisfaction for men. The findings are discussed with regard to the importance of assessing gender differences in reasons for exercise activity and the detection of at‐risk motivations for athleticism that may be used to identify individuals who might develop eating disorders and/or body image disturbance.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Journal of Eating Disorders, v. 11, issue 3, p. 289-292.