Faculty Publications

Through their eyes: Exploring the relationship between college females’ body perceptions and recreation center messaging

Sydney L. Cindrich, Iowa State University
Kimberly Hurley, University of Northern Iowa


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(5): 1112-1122, 2021. The study aimed to investigate the influence that recreation center promotional messaging had on college females’ body perceptions. Female participants 18 to 25 years of age (N = 137, Mage = 20.41) from a mid-sized, Midwestern university completed two separate body perception questionnaires. These questionnaires assessed body appreciation (functionality) and body shame (appearance). Participants were divided into three groups and shown a collage of recreation center messages that were portraying one of three conditions: (a) body functionality, (b) body appearance, or (c) neutral images. Participants then completed post-collage surveys to capture acute responses in body perceptions based on the collage that was viewed. Results indicated that those who viewed the body functionality collage had a significant decrease in body shame scores from pre-to post-survey completion, but those who viewed the body appearance collage had no significant change in body perception. This study provides preliminary work for researchers to expand upon in order to enhance recreation center usage among female students.