College Students’ Perceptions of Fitness and Body Type in Interpersonal Relationships

Melissa MacDonald, Kylee Thetford, Nicole Schueneman, Justin Daleiden,
Cameron Miller, Jennifer T. Edwards*, Tarleton State University

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Abstract The purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of college students about a person’s body type in interpersonal relationships. The researchers investigated the stereotypes placed on college students and their level of physical appearance. In order to reach the goal of the study, the researchers offered the following research question: “What are college students’ perceptions of a person’s body type when beginning interpersonal relationships on a college campus?”

Twenty-two students responded to the qualitative questionnaire. Most of the responses regarding the uncomfortable situations formed the “negative self-perceptions” category. The highest number of responses in this category regarded students who are overweight and feel uncomfortable with themselves around others. Most of the responses regarding comfortable situations formed the “overweight” and “thin” subcategories. Students responded and implied that no matter their peers’ body types, they did not feel differently towards these students.

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