Eva Pila

Eva Pila
The University of Western Ontario | UWO · School of Kinesiology

PhD Exercise & Health Psychology

About

82
Publications
22,023
Reads
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765
Citations
Introduction
My research draws on psychological perspectives to understand how body image concerns impact one’s mental and physical health, and how psychological strategies like self-compassion may help. Integrating frameworks from health, exercise, social, and clinical psychology, this research aims to understand conditions that disproportionately impact women’s health (e.g., physical inactivity, weight stigma, eating disorders, mood disorders, breast cancer).
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - present
University of Toronto
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (82)
Article
Exposure to “fitspiration” may promote exercising for maladaptive weight and appearance reasons in young women. Fitness content depicting higher-weight bodies could promote exercise for adaptive non-appearance motives, and body compassion might protect against the negative effects of “fitspiration” exposure. Two pre-registered experimental studies...
Article
Despite the evidenced benefits of participating in organized sport, adolescent girls consistently report lower rates of sport participation, worse sport experiences, and higher dropout rates, compared to boys. Body image concerns have been linked to this gender disparity and established as a critical predictor of disordered eating, thus necessitati...
Article
Scholars have proposed that cumulative experiences of anti-fat bias and stigma contribute to detrimental physical activity experiences, as well as social and health inequities. The objective of this research was to explore how enacted weight stigma experiences are constructed and impact women’s physical activity experiences long term. Eighteen wome...
Article
Objectives Self-compassion protects against the occurrence of negative body image experiences and may be particularly useful in defending against negative body- and appearance-related self-conscious emotions in sport. The aim of this study was to examine within- and between-person associations between self-compassion and appearance-related self-con...
Article
PurposeFirst, to characterize the prevalence and incidence of “bulk” and “cut” cycles among Canadian adolescents and young adults. Second, to determine the associations between bulk and cut cycle engagement and drive for muscularity and eating disorder and muscle dysmorphia psychopathology.Methods Data were from the Canadian Study of Adolescent Hea...
Article
Full-text available
Background “Cheat meals”, described as brief eating episodes that depart from established dietary practices to consume prohibited foods, represent a novel and increasingly common eating behavior with particular salience in adolescence and young adulthood. However, knowledge gaps remain regarding the frequency and characterization of foods and calor...
Article
Body image is a critical component of an individual’s sexual experiences. This makes it critical to identify demographic and sociocultural correlates of sexuality-related body image: the subjective feelings, cognitions, and evaluations related to one’s body in the context of sexual experience. We examined how sexuality-related body image differed b...
Article
According to the tripartite influence model, body dissatisfaction is shaped by internalizing cultural appearance ideals stemming from appearance-related family, peer, and media pressures. This model was developed for women, but emerging evidence points to its relevance for men’s body image. This study advanced this budding research by (a) integrati...
Article
Racial minority men and women face a wide variety of appearance-related pressures, including ones connected to their cultural backgrounds and phenotypic features associated with their identity. These body image concerns exist within a larger context, wherein racial minorities face pressures from multiple cultures or subcultures simultaneously to ac...
Article
Objectification theory and the tripartite influence model provide useful frameworks for understanding the body image experiences of men and women. However, there is little systematic investigation of how sexual orientation moderates the links between these constructs and body image satisfaction. It has been hypothesized, for example, that the assoc...
Article
Objectification theory proposes that widespread sexualization causes women to engage in surveillance of their appearance. We integrated this concept into a model with constructs from the tripartite influence model, which proposes that body dissatisfaction is a result of internalizing cultural notions of thin ideal beauty that stem from family, peer...
Article
We examined how gender, body mass, race, age, and sexual orientation were linked to appearance evaluation, overweight preoccupation, and body image-related quality of life among 11,620 adults recruited via Mechanical Turk. Men were less likely than women to report low appearance evaluation, high overweight preoccupation, negative effects of body im...
Article
We examined how demographic factors (gender, sexual orientation, racial group, age, body mass) were. linked to measures of sociocultural appearance concerns derived from objectification theory and the tripartite influence model (McKinley & Hyde, 1996; Schaefer et al., 2015) among 11,620 adults. Men were less likely than women to report high body su...
Article
Many girls who participate in sport struggle to negotiate the complex relationship between their desired appearance and maintaining a physique that facilitates performance. As a result, these athletes experience a range of emotions about their bodies that impact their psychological well-being. We examined appearance- and fitness-related emotions us...
Article
Body-related self-conscious emotions are important predictors of exercise motivation, yet the association between body-related self-conscious emotions and reasons for exercise has not been explored. Researchers have typically examined body-related emotions (e.g., shame, guilt, pride, embarrassment, envy) in isolation, but they may interact in uniqu...
Article
Despite the extensive benefits of sport participation, girls consistently participate at lower rates, are more likely to drop out, and report worse sport experiences compared to boys. Body image is a critical factor identified to influence sport participation for adolescent girl athletes. Strategies to mitigate the impact of body image in sport are...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Body image concerns may contribute to poor sport experiences and low sport participation in girls. Objectification theory and evidence from studies in non-sport contexts suggests body talk may elicit an environment that fosters negative body image. However, the phenomenon of body talk within adolescent girls sport is not well-understoo...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that poses challenges for the mental health of approximately 1.4 million university students in Canada. Preliminary evidence has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on undergraduate student mental health and well-being, however existing data are predominantly limite...
Article
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that poses challenges for the mental health of approximately 1.4 million university students in Canada. Preliminary evidence has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on undergraduate student mental health and well-being, however existing data are predominantly limi...
Article
Full-text available
Body surveillance is the behavioral manifestation of self-objectification and is associated with deleterious mental health consequences. Less commonly studied is the effect of body surveillance on physical activity behavior. Examining this association is important because habitual monitoring of bodily appearance may be linked to both the engagement...
Article
Full-text available
Preoccupation and concerns about body weight, shape, size, and function have been shown to contribute to the significant gender disparity in sport participation which disfavours girls. To adequately address this gender gap and support girls in sustained participation in sport, the development of sport-specific interventions is critical to the effec...
Chapter
This chapter considers the role of exercise and sport as it uniquely relates to eating disorders in boys and men. While engagement in sport and exercise has been reliably shown to protect against eating disorders, the performance-based pressures and physique-salient nature of these contexts may perpetuate disordered behaviors. This may be particula...
Article
Affective judgments are one of the strongest predictors of physical activity. Engaging in body surveillance during physical activity is theorized to reduce access to pleasant affective experiences thereby compromising the influence of affective judgments. However, empirical tests of this relationship are lacking. This study examined associations be...
Article
The socialization of girls to habitually monitor their bodies, via the process of body surveillance, contributes to an increased risk of negative physical and psychological experiences. The present study examined if body surveillance may also contribute to the decrease in physical activity that is observed in girls during adolescence, and if this a...
Article
Objectives Public health interventions for adolescent “obesity prevention” have focused predominantly on individualistic health behaviours (e.g., diet and physical activity) at the expense of recognizing body weight diversity and the array of social factors (e.g., stigma and discrimination of marginalized identities) that may be linked to weight st...
Article
Full-text available
Body-related emotions have been identified as important predictors of mental and physical health. Evaluations of the physical self are inextricably linked with body-related emotions. However, little research has addressed how physical self-concept is associated with anticipated emotions and how associations may differ between men and women. The cur...
Article
Due to the prevalence of sport dropout among female athletes during adolescence, identifying factors that mitigate this decline in participation is important. This study examined social identity and group-based self-conscious emotions as correlates of sport commitment among 239 young female athletes (Mage= 14.07 years, SD = 1.37 years, Range = 11–1...
Article
Researchers have identified that experiences of body-related shame significantly contribute to heightened depressive symptoms, and therefore it is valuable to identify and understand potential factors that buffer this relationship. The present study examined the cross-sectional relationship between body-related shame and depressive symptoms separat...
Article
Body-related self-conscious emotions such as shame, guilt, envy, and embarrassment are highly prevalent in sport contexts and are associated with poor sport experiences and lower participation among adolescent girls. However, little is known about how body self-consciousness impacts quality sport among adolescent girls. The current study aimed to e...
Article
Sport and exercise contexts are inherently social and achievement‐oriented, entailing comparisons with others and self, evaluations of the self, and self‐relevant behaviors. This chapter presents an overview of self‐conscious emotions, both global and body‐specific, and discusses their relevance to sport and exercise contexts. It starts with an ove...
Article
Embarrassment is an understudied self-conscious emotion both experienced globally and in the context of the body. Drawing from affective body image tenets, this investigation aimed to better understand body-related embarrassment in a final sample of 187 adolescent and young adult males and females. A thematic content analysis was used to analyze se...
Article
Full-text available
The Breast Size Satisfaction Survey (BSSS) was established to assess women’s breast size dissatisfaction and breasted experiences from a cross-national perspective. A total of 18,541 women were recruited from 61 research sites across 40 nations and completed measures of current-ideal breast size discrepancy, as well as measures of theorised anteced...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescent athletes report body image concerns that negatively impact their sport experiences and participation. The coach’s perspective may be informative to how the context of sport perpetuates, supports, or protects from negative body image. Yet few coaches are represented in this area of research. The purpose of the present study was to explore...
Article
Despite well-documented benefits of sport participation for adolescents, girls are less likely to initiate participation and more likely to disengage from sport, compared to boys. Due to the highly evaluative and social nature of the sport context, girls' emotional experiences around their body's abilities, function, and fitness are important-yet u...
Conference Paper
The pervasiveness of psychological concerns among university students has been deemed a "campus mental health crisis". As such, campus mental health services necessitate sustainable and feasible promotional strategies targeted towards prevention. Campus-based physical activity interventions may be effective at promoting student mental health. As su...
Article
The current study explored change in body-related self-conscious emotions (e.g., shame, guilt, authentic pride, hubristic pride) over three years, and tested body surveillance, age, weight status, years in sport, and competitive status as baseline predictors of change. Adolescent females engaged in organized sport (N = 518 at baseline, Mage = 14.02...
Article
Perceptions of physical self-concept are critical to physical activity participation. In line with the reciprocal effects model of causal ordering (REM), higher perceptions of physical self-concept can function as a facilitator to physical activity, and can arise as a result of engaging in physical activity. While this relationship has been predomi...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has identified the important but overlooked role of negative affect in the maintenance of dietary restriction. However, understanding how fluctuations in negative affect relate to symptoms of anorexia nervosa (AN) during treatment is limited. In a longitudinal study, the reciprocal associations between higher and lower order dimensi...
Article
Objectives: This scoping review explored the associations between physical activity, sport, and body image. Design: Scoping review. Method: The studies were identified and selected using broad search criteria using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO via Ovid and CINAHL, Gender Studies and Sport Discus via EBSCO, from January 1, 2008 up to May 15, 2018 f...
Article
Objective: Engagement in "cheat meals" has been recently documented as a socially endorsed dietary practice oriented towards pursuing physique ideals, and which bears qualitative semblance to disordered eating behavior. However, the clinical significance of this dietary practice remains unclear. Methods: We recruited a sample of young adults (n...
Article
Cancer-related changes in body weight are problematic given that excess weight is associated with an increased risk of cancer reoccurrence and mortality. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of weight-concerned women treated for early-stage breast cancer. A purposeful sample of women were selected based on criteria f...
Article
Objectives: Weight cycling is linked with advanced breast cancer diagnosis, increased risk of cancer reoccurrence and cancer-related mortality. While women treated for breast cancer report challenges with navigating their post-treatment body shape and weight, the effects of weight cycling on body image and mental health have not been elucidated. Th...
Conference Paper
Objectives This study examines (i) how group-based emotions are related to sport enjoyment and commitment, and (ii) whether sport identity moderates these associations. Methods Group-based self-conscious emotions, sport identity, sport enjoyment and commitment were assessed in 256 young female athletes that ranged from 11 to 17 years of age (Mage=...
Article
Objective: This study aimed to examine the trajectory of symptom remission and affective functioning throughout the course of two family-based treatments for adolescent anorexia nervosa (AN): conjoint family-based treatment (FBT) and parent-focused treatment (PFT). Method: Participants were 107 adolescents (Mage = 15.5 years, SD = 1.5) with a pr...
Article
Purpose/Objectives: To test body-related shame and guilt as predictors of breast cancer survivors' (BCS') moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) during six months and to examine motivational regulations as mediators of this association. Design: Prospective study. Setting: Survivors were recruited through advertisements and oncologi...
Article
Although exposure to physique-salient media images of women's bodies has been consistently linked with negative psychological consequences, little is known about the cognitive processes that lead to these negative effects. The present study employed a novel adaptation of a computerized response time (RT) task to (i) assess implicit cognitive proces...
Article
The present study explored how women aged 50-65?years reflect and make meaning of a lifetime of body and weight struggles. Seven purposefully selected women with longstanding body image challenges participated in interviews and reflected on their perceptions, thoughts, and emotions around their body and weight since childhood. Findings revealed con...
Article
Objectives University students report numerous barriers to physical activity participation including a lack of social support. Yet little is known about the types and providers of social support that are associated with physical activity across the first year of university. Design Prospective longitudinal survey. Method Undergraduate students (N =...
Article
The objectives of this study were to describe the cross-sectional associations between body-related selfconscious emotions and depressive symptoms in young adults and examine self-esteem as a moderator of these associations. Data from a population-based sample of 811 young adults were analyzed using hierarchical multivariate linear regression analy...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the pervasive social endorsement of " cheat meals " within pro-muscularity online communities , there is an absence of empirical work examining this dietary phenomenon. The present study aimed to characterize cheat meals, and explore the meaning ascribed to engagement in this practice. Thematic content analysis was employed to code the phot...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: In Canada, two counseling services are offered to facilitate physical activity participation among persons with physical disabilities, yet both have encountered concerns related to the recruitment and retainment of clients. The purpose of this paper is to explore factors related to service adoption among nonusers, and the barriers and fac...
Article
Individuals who are overweight or obese report body image concerns and lower self-esteem. However, little is known about the mechanisms underpinning these associations. The objective of this study was to test body-related shame and guilt as mediators in the association between weight status and self-esteem. Young adult participants (n = 790) comple...
Article
The aim of this study was to examine the associations between the body-related self-conscious emotions of shame, guilt, and pride and physical activity motivation and behavior among adult males. Specifically, motivation regulations (external, introjected, indentified, intrinsic) were examined as possible mediators between each of the body-related s...
Article
Physical activity (PA) settings such as sport, exercise, and physical education are inherently social and evaluative in nature, with much attention directed at how the body looks and performs. As such, these settings foster a host of positive and negative emotional experiences. Social physique anxiety (SPA) is a commonly studied emotion that emanat...