Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Skin-Related Anxiety Affects Exercise Intent

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Skin-Related Anxiety Affects Exercise Intent

Article excerpt

Social anxiety stemming from acne or other skin conditions might keep people from exercising, say results of a survey of 50 adults selected from an acne support group.

Exercise is important for overall health and skin health, but data from previous studies have shown that people are often inclined to avoid participating in sports and other activities because of anxiety about their appearance.

To examine the link between skin-related social anxiety and the intention to play sports or exercise, Tom Loney, a Ph.D. student at the University of Bath (England) and his colleagues surveyed 20 men and 30 women with an average age of 33 years (J. Health Psychol. 2008; 13:47-54).

The participants responded to questionnaires that addressed dermatologic social anxiety, intention to participate in sports and exercise, self-esteem, and quality of life related to skin conditions.

Based on responses to dermatologic social anxiety statements such as, "When in a bathing suit, I often feel nervous about the appearance of my skin," the average score was 3.97 on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely).

The average score for intent-to-exercise statements such as "I am determined to exercise/play sport at least three times a week during the next month" was 4.04 on a scale of 1 (very unlikely) to 7 (very likely). For self-esteem statements such as "I feel that I have a number of good qualities," the average response was 1.56 on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree).

Finally, the average score on the Dermatology Life Quality Index, which includes 10 items such as, "Over the last week, how much has your skin affected any social or leisure activities? …

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