Samantha Goode, a senior undergraduate psychology major, working in Dr. Charles Emery's Cardiopulminary Behavioral Medicine lab, was awarded Honorable Mention in the Three-Minute Thesis competition sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry. The goal of the Three-Minute Thesis competition is for students to share their research using lay terms and only one static slide in three minutes or less.
Obesity prevalence continues to rise in the U.S., so for her senior thesis Samantha wanted to address this growing public health concern. She looked at two factors that are related to physical activity usage: exercise self-efficacy (confidence that you'll be able to perform exercise in different situations) and anxiety sensitivity (fear of the physical arousal brought on by anxiety). Exercise self-efficacy is associated with more physical activity, while anxiety sensitivity is associated with performing less physical activity as the physical arousal we feel during exercise is similar to the physical arousal of anxiety. Samantha hypothesized the findings would replicate these associations and that exercise self-efficacy would influence the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and exercise, such that this relationship's strength would be different at different levels of exercise self-efficacy.
Contrary to expectations, exercise self-efficacy did not influence the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and exercise activity. However, as she hypothesized, the more social anxiety sensitivity an individual experienced the less moderate intensity exercise, and total exercise, they participated in.
Thus, it may be that physical activity among individuals with obesity is associated with perceptions of negative social judgments from others.