Title

“I Feel Pressure:” Exploring the Phenomenon of Body Image Formation in Collegiate Female Athletes Within the Context of Social Comparison Theory

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Publication Title

Journal of Coaching Education

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine female athletes' perceptions of their body image as a result of comparing themselves to others. Social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954) was used as the theoretical basis for understanding the effects of body image among intercollegiate female athletes. Using a qualitative analysis, the authors individually interviewed 20 female collegiate athletes attending a Division I university and thematically coded their responses. The findings suggest that coaches and teammates significantly contribute to body image pressures in female athletes, as participants were sensitive to the comments and perceptions of these groups. Finally, athletes perceived that the external population (those outside of coaches and teammates) evaluated athletic talent based on actual body image.

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