Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Laura Richardson

First Reader

Dr. Judith Juvancic Heltzel

Second Reader

Melissa Smith


Body image is a psychological feeling, which varies greatly based on factors including age, sex, and exercise participation. Body image is a critical factor to consider; positive body image is important in the prevention of health-related problems. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate if body image differences exist among students (Exercise Science and Engineering majors) at The University of Akron. This comparative study examining students, representative of educational background, was to explore if students’ major study of focus affected body image. METHODS: A 14-item survey using the Body Image States Scale (BISS), with questions related to sex, age, height, weight, and exercise participation, was completed for body image analysis, determining significant differences between students. Survey samples were taken through The University of Akron Qualtrics survey system, and statistical measures (including two-sample t-test analyses) were utilized to conclude relevant findings. RESULTS: The results from this study analyzed 31 total responses, 16 Exercise Science students and 15 Engineering students. The BISS results gave correlative effects of physiological and psychological components to body image. Examining the relative educational impact on body image, combined with additional components, overall significances of factors contributing to body image were determined. Independent sample t-tests revealed no significant differences: p=0.14 between Exercise Science and Engineering participants, p=0.09 between sexes, p=0.19 between sexes within the Exercise Science participants, and p=0.73 between sexes within the Engineering participants. CONCLUSION: Findings related to body image may determine if further psychological need to establish an intervention may be applicable to increase positive body image views in a particular major. Results from this study contribute to understanding determinants affecting body image, creating a comprehensive understanding of body image.