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This study aimed to assess the internalization of sociocultural attitudes and appearance comparison among U.S. athletes with physical disabilities. Female (n = 19) and male (n = 25) athletes between the ages of 18 and 73 years completed a quantitative survey along with two exploratory open-ended questions related to body appearance and influencers. Results showed significant correlations between internalization of the thin and low-body-fat ideal and appearance comparison (r = .55, p < .05) and internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .76, p < .05) among women. For men, results showed a significant association between internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .52, p < .05). The findings prompt further investigation of whether appearance comparison and internalization influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating among athletes with physical disabilities.
Ede, Madrigal, and Vargas are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, USA, as was Rodriguez at the time of the study. Rodriguez and Greenleaf are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA.