Female body image perceptions: the case of elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive individuals

Reeve, Victoria (2013) Female body image perceptions: the case of elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive individuals. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

To date, research has been equivocal when comparing the body image perceptions of elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive young females. Understanding body image perceptions of athletes, exercisers and inactive females is significant due to the positive effects having body image satisfaction and dissatisfaction has on an individual’s well-being. Thus, the following study aims to: i) to examine critically the body image perceptions of female elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive individuals; ii) to explore comparatively the body image perceptions of female elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive individuals: and iii) to consider the role of elite sport and habitual exercise within the development of body image perceptions in females. The research aims of this study were addressed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) via semi-structured interviews. The sample recruited for this study consisted of: I) four elite female athletes; II) four habitual female; and III) four inactive females. The findings showed that the elite athletes had greater body image satisfaction in comparison to the habitual exercisers and inactive females. It was determined that the sport in which the athlete participated in had an affect on their body image perception. All three groups identified a slim and toned ideal. The athletes identified that their bodies were more muscular than the ideal, however, accepted their bodies as being beneficial to achieving optimal performance. The exercisers and inactive females identified the cultural ideal body image communicated by the Western culture meant a feeling of pressure and expectation to conform to unrealistic ideals. This study extended the research on body image perceptions of female elite athletes, habitual exercisers, and inactive individuals. From these findings, it seems that participation in sport should to be promoted to inactive individuals. Alongside numerous physiological and psychological health benefits that undertaking sport achieves, these results suggest that participation is likely to lead to more positive body image perceptions, and ultimately body image satisfaction.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Hill, Denisedhill@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Kilgour, Lindseylkilgour@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Matthews, Nicnmatthews@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information: Master of Science by Research
Uncontrolled Keywords: Body image satisfaction, elite female athletes, habitual female exercisers, inactive females, socio-cultural influences on body image satisfaction
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Sport & Exercise
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2015 10:25
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 11:24
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1945

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