Gyms, are they good for your health? : a comparative study between gym users and non-gym users

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Devlin, Anne
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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A comparative study was carried out to investigate eating disorders risk, drive for muscularity, body shape, self-esteem and drive for thinness in male and female gym users and non-gym users. A booklet containing, a purpose designed questionnaire, the Eating Disorders Inventory -3, the Drive for Muscularity Scale, the Body Shape Questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale and the Drive for Thinness subscale, were given to the participants. The breakdown of gym users and non-gym users was 57 and 43 respectively, with both males and females in each group. The type of design used was a between subjects design. The dependent variables were body mass index, gym user/ non-gym user, body shape, self-esteem, drive for muscularity and drive for thinness. The independent variable was score of the participant's. Overall female gym users were found to have an increased risk of suffering from eating disorders, are the unhappiest when it comes to their body shape, have a higher drive for thinness and score higher than female non-gym users in their drive for muscularity. Male gym users have the highest drive for muscularity overall and in turn score the lowest on their drive for thinness. Male self-esteem is marginally higher overall, but the difference is so small it could be due to chance. A criticism of the current study might be the use of non-gym users; non exercisers would have been more favourable. Studies in the future might include research around the negative effects of communal areas in relation to social physique anxiety.