Self-conscious emotions, physical activity, and masculinity among women: A mediation analysis


Research has established connections between self-conscious emotions and engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). There is also evidence to suggest a positive association between the embodiment of masculinity with MVPA, while research on resistance training (RT) is lacking. Given the relevance of masculinity for an individual's sense of identity, masculinity may serve as a mediator in the connection between a range of self-conscious emotions (shame, guilt, embarrassment, envy, authentic pride, hubristic pride) and physical activity (MVPA and RT). The purpose of this study was to test this proposition. A sample of 391 women, Mage (SD) = 25.64 (5.25) years completed a self-report survey. The main analyses were separate mediation models to explore emotions and MVPA and RT. Masculinity was a significant partial mediator for the association between hubristic pride, shame, and embarrassment and MVPA (p < .05). Masculinity was also a significant partial mediator for associations between authentic pride, hubristic pride, shame, and embarrassment and RT (p < .05). Guilt was negatively related to both MVPA and RT (p < .05) and envy was negatively related to MVPA (p < .05), but neither were related to nor mediated by masculinity. These results suggest that masculinity may be an important identity factor to further understand in the context of women's physical activity. These results also demonstrate the value of differentiating between types of physical activity in how we understand emotional and behavioral processes.