Yes, we can (No, you can’t): Weight stigma, exercise self-efficacy, and active identity development in higher-weight individuals
ISPAH ePoster Library. Meadows A. 10/15/18; 225271; 514
Dr. Angela Meadows
Dr. Angela Meadows
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Abstract
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Abstract Although many higher-weight individuals engage in regular leisure-time physical activity, an inverse relationship has been observed between body mass index and physical activity levels. Experienced and internalised weight stigma have been linked with reduced exercise enjoyment, motivation, self-efficacy, and participation; however, little is known about how these effects are transmitted. In this conceptual paper, we propose a dual pathway model to account for the impact of weight stigma on exercise behaviour. In the direct pathway, experiences or threat of explicit and implicit stigma and discrimination create traumatic learning experiences in both youngsters and adults, impairing the development of exercise self-efficacy. In the indirect pathway, an absence of positive representations of fat exercisers, and a glut of negative representations, mean that higher-weight people lack role models from whom they may develop vicarious self-efficacy. Across both pathways, low self-efficacy, in turn, hinders the development of active fat identities. Perceived ability has been linked with exercise identity in both cross-sectional and prospective studies, and a strong exercise identity is, in turn, linked to more frequent exercise, greater future exercise intentions, and perseverance in the face of barriers to exercise. We outline a research agenda, particularly in terms of active fat role models, and discuss how inclusive exercise environments may promote the development of exercise self-efficacy and active identities.
Abstract Although many higher-weight individuals engage in regular leisure-time physical activity, an inverse relationship has been observed between body mass index and physical activity levels. Experienced and internalised weight stigma have been linked with reduced exercise enjoyment, motivation, self-efficacy, and participation; however, little is known about how these effects are transmitted. In this conceptual paper, we propose a dual pathway model to account for the impact of weight stigma on exercise behaviour. In the direct pathway, experiences or threat of explicit and implicit stigma and discrimination create traumatic learning experiences in both youngsters and adults, impairing the development of exercise self-efficacy. In the indirect pathway, an absence of positive representations of fat exercisers, and a glut of negative representations, mean that higher-weight people lack role models from whom they may develop vicarious self-efficacy. Across both pathways, low self-efficacy, in turn, hinders the development of active fat identities. Perceived ability has been linked with exercise identity in both cross-sectional and prospective studies, and a strong exercise identity is, in turn, linked to more frequent exercise, greater future exercise intentions, and perseverance in the face of barriers to exercise. We outline a research agenda, particularly in terms of active fat role models, and discuss how inclusive exercise environments may promote the development of exercise self-efficacy and active identities.
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