Understanding the relationship between physical activity and physical self-perception in adolescent females: the role of body image

The aim of this study was to explore the role of body image concern in the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept. A total of 441 Spanish adolescent college females aged 12 to 17 completed the Physical Self-Concept Questionnaire (CAF), the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ) and Gardner´s Scale for the Assessment of Body Image. Data on body mass index (BMI) and participation in physical activity were also collected. The results showed a positive relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept with all its subdimensions, as well as general self-concept. This relationship was notably higher in the absence of body image concern. However, no relationship was found between exercise and the subdimension of body attractiveness in the case of adolescents who were dissatisfied with their bodies. This emphasizes the importance of a healthy body image in shaping an adolescent female’s self-concept.