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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Mar;36(3):475-83.

Measurement of social physique anxiety in early adolescence.

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Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2046, USA.



The present study assessed the factorial validity and gender invariance of the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) using a sample of young adolescents. Existing SPAS 12-item, one- and two-factor and truncated, one-factor (i.e., nine-item and seven-item) measurement models reported in the adult literature were explored, with emphasis placed on the truncated models.


Female (N = 389) and male (N = 225) 9th- and 10th-grade high-school students (mean = 15.2, SD = 0.7 yr) completed the SPAS and a measure of body satisfaction.


Findings were consistent with previous adult-based SPAS research. The 12-item, one-factor SPAS model did not exhibit a good fit to the data. The 12-item, two-factor model and truncated models exhibited good fits to the data. The truncated models were gender invariant. Latent mean analysis on the truncated models showed girls scored higher on social physique anxiety than boys. Finally, examination of standardized residuals suggested that a different seven-item truncated model from that forwarded in the existing literature best fit the adolescent data. This in part may stem from comprehension problems with one item.


The psychometric properties of the SPAS with a heterogeneous sample of young adolescents suggest that the instrument may be used in research exploring social physique anxiety in adolescence. Given that a different seven-item model emerged in this study than that established in prior research, use of the nine-item truncated version of the SPAS is recommended while further validation work is conducted with adolescent samples.

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