Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS)


The pressures placed on young men and women to portray an ideal physique are predominant social forces in today’s society. A failure to live up to these standards, whether real or imagined, may induce thoughts and feelings that others are negatively evaluating one’s physique. In this case, social physique anxiety may be experienced (SPA; Hart, Leary, & Rejeski, 1989). Subsequently, individuals who are concerned that others are or may be judging their physiques negatively (i.e., SPA) may feel pressured by society’s ideals to engage in physical activity to enhance their physique and decrease the chances of negative evaluations. The Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) a 12-item self-report scale developed to assess the degree to which people become anxious when others observe or evaluate their physiques.


The Social Physique Anxiety Scale (SPAS) demonstrated both high internal and test-retest reliability. It also correlated appropriately with concerns regarding others’ evaluations and with feelings about one’s body. Validity data showed that women who scored high on the SPAS were heavier and had a higher percentage of body fat than those who scored lower. In addition, high scorers reported significantly greater anxiety during a real evaluation of their physiques, further supporting the validity of the scale.

Author of Tool:

Leary, M. R.

Key references:

Hart, E. A., Leary, M. R., & Rejeski, W. J. (1989). The measurement of social physique anxiety. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11, 94-104.

Primary use / Purpose:

This scale measures social anxiety related to physique. By physique or figure we mean your body’s form and structure; specifically, body fat, muscular tone, and general body proportions.

Social Physique Anxiety Scale

he following questionnaire contains statements concerning your body physique or figure. By physique or figure we mean your body’s form and structure; specifically, body fat, muscular tone, and general body proportions.

Instructions: Read each item carefully and indicate how characteristic it is of you according to the following scale.

  • 1 = Not at all characteristic of me
  • 2 = Slightly characteristic of me
  • 3 = Moderately characteristic of me
  • 4 = Very characteristic of me
  • 5 = Extremely characteristic of me


  1.     I am comfortable with the appearance of my physique or figure.
  2.     I would never worry about wearing clothes that might make me look too thin or overweight.
  3. I wish I wasn't so up-tight about my physique or figure.
  4. There are times when I am bothered by thoughts that other people are evaluating my weight    or muscular development negatively.
  5. When I look in the mirror I feel good about my physique or figure.
  6. Unattractive features of my physique or figure make me nervous in certain social settings.
  7. In the presence of others, I feel apprehensive about my physique or figure.
  8. I am comfortable with how fit my body appears to others.
  9. It would make me uncomfortable to know others were evaluating my physique or figure.
  10. When it comes to displaying my physique or figure to others, I am a shy person.
  11. I usually feel relaxed when it's obvious that others are looking at my physique or figure.
  12. When in a bathing suit, I often feel nervous about how well proportioned my body is.