Through a different lens: Examining the influence of culture and acculturation on perceptions of the female exerciser stereotype


An exerciser stereotype in which exercisers receive more positive ratings on physical and personality attributes than those described as non-exercisers and control targets has been identified in previous research (e.g., Munroe-Chandler et al., 2012).  Despite these positive ratings, the rate of participation in exercise for non-White Canadians is below that of White Canadians (Bryan et al., 2006).  One factor that may influence exercise participation rates for ethnic minorities is acculturation to mainstream culture (Daniel et al., 2013).  The purpose of the present study was to examine the female exerciser stereotype in light of both culture and individual acculturation.  Participants (N = 510) read a vignette describing a female exerciser, and rated the target on personality and physical attributes before completing the Vancouver Index of Acculturation (Ryder et al., 2000).  Results revealed no significant differences between White (n = 340) and non-White (n = 170) participants on ratings of personality and physical attributes (ps > .05).  However, it was found that those who were more acculturated with mainstream Canadian culture rated the target higher on physical and personality attributes compared to those who were less acculturated to mainstream culture (ps < .05).  Findings indicate that mainstream acculturation may be a more important factor when forming impressions of exercisers than an individual’s culture.

Acknowledgments: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council