The Relationship between Body Esteem, Exercise Motivations, Depression, and Social Support Among Female Free Clinic Patients

Akiko Kamimura, Nancy Christensen, Sarah Al-Obaydi, Silvia Patricia Solis, Jeanie Ashby, Jessica L.J. Greenwood, Justine J. Reel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Obesity is a significant public health problem in women's health. This study examined relationship between body esteem, exercise motivations, depression, and social support among female free clinic patients. Low-income women who are at risk for obesity and other health concerns would benefit from health education efforts. Methods: We compared 299 female and 164 male free clinic patients 18years or older using assessments for body esteem, motivation to exercise, depression, and social support. Results: Although female participants reported lower levels of body esteem and higher levels of depression compared with male participants (. p<.01), female participants were more motivated to exercise for weight-related reasons than male participants (. p<.05). U.S.-born female participants reported lower exercise motivations compared with non-U.S.-born female participants (. p<.01). Social support might be an important factor to increase exercise motivation among female free clinic patients (. p<.05); depression lowers levels of body esteem (. p<.01). Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that female free clinic patients should receive gender-specific interventions to promote positive body image and physical activity. It is important for health educators to engage a myriad of physical activity motives to increase the likelihood that clients will experience enjoyment and sustained adoption of exercise into their lifestyle. Future practice and research should warrant the implementation of body image and physical activity programs and the potential impact of using exercise to reducing depression among female patients at free clinics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-662
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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