Who is your Fitspiration? An Exploration of Strong and Weak Ties with Emotions, Body Satisfaction, and the Theory of Planned Behavior

Nicholas Eng, Yuan Sun, Jessica Gall Myrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Physical inactivity has become an increasingly important concern for public health. “Fitspiration” social media posts may influence attitudes and intentions toward exercising. An online survey (N = 485) was conducted to examine the potential for fitspiration content from weak and strong ties to shape user emotions, attitudes, norms and behaviors related to exercising. Guided by the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and social cognitive theory (SCT), the results show that exposure to fitspiration content from both strong ties and weak ties were significant predictors of particular attitudes, norms, intentions, actual exercise frequency. However, our path analyses reveal significant indirect paths between exposure to fitspiration content and outcomes for weak ties through negative emotions (guilt), but only through positive emotions (hope and curiosity) for strong ties. Additionally, we found evidence that body satisfaction levels do matter in shaping the interrelationships between exposure to fitspiration content, emotions, and our outcome variables. In light of our results, we encourage researchers to consider the inclusion of emotional responses as antecedents to TPB outcomes and for practitioners to consider the role of source in campaign design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1489
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Communication
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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