This study examined: (1) whether individuals who were described as having a myocardial infarction (MI) were perceived differently compared to individuals who were described as having rheumatoid arthritis or individuals who had no health condition; and (2) whether individuals described as engaging in exercise following an MI were perceived more positively than those described as not engaging in exercise following an MI or for whom no mention of exercise was made. University students (n = 473) were randomly assigned 1 of 10 target conditions. They completed demographic information, read a target description, created an image of that target in their head, and then rated that target on physical and personality characteristics. The results showed that the MI targets were perceived more negatively than the arthritis targets and healthy controls, specifically on the physical characteristics. Further, engaging in exercise following an MI helped to reduce the negative perceptions associated with MIs.
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