Background: Both research literature and clinical survey has demonstrated that social physique anxiety is associated with mental health and psychological diseases. Recent studies
suggested females more than men experienced a greater amount of social physique anxiety. However, the factors contributing to social physique anxiety were not well documented especially in Chinese
population. Thus, the present study was to investigate the sex difference of social physique anxiety and multidimensional body image for college students in China. In addition, a multiple regression
analysis was conducted to determine how social physique anxiety was related to body image components.
Methods: Participants (n=499, aged at 18-21) were randomly selected from three universities in an urban setting in China. A Chinese version of Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS)
was adopted to measure the anxiety level. A Chinese version of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) was used to assess ten subsets of body image including appearance
evaluation & orientation, fitness evaluation & orientation, health evaluation & orientation, illness orientation, body area satisfaction, overweight preoccupation, and self-classified weight.
Results: An independent t-test showed female students (M=2.92, SD=.51) had significantly greater on social physique anxiety relative to their male counterparts (M=2.76, SD=.46). The
analysis of MBSRQ revealed females had significantly higher scores on overweight preoccupation and appearance orientation, but lower scores on appearance evaluation, fitness evaluation, and body area
satisfaction. More importantly, A multiple linear regression showed that appearance evaluation and appearance orientation reliably predicted social physique anxiety in Chinese college students
Conclusions: The results showed sex differences on social physique anxiety, self-perception on appearance and fitness, and body satisfaction. These findings were generally consistent
with the previous literature on sex differences in different cultural settings. But the regression only found lower appearance evaluation and higher appearance orientation contributed to social
physique anxiety. Self-perceptions on fitness and health were not reliably predictors for the anxiety. It indicates Chinese college students are not associated their body satisfaction with their
fitness and health. It also raises a concern that an increasing physical fitness and physical activity level might not be an efficient tool to regulate social physique anxiety for college students in