The Impact of “Girls on the Run” on Self-Concept and Fat Attitudes

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 Wayne State University
  • 2 University of Northern Iowa
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The purpose of our quasi-experimental study was to examine the impact of the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program on multidimensional self-concept and attitudes toward fat. Young girls (N= 21) participated in a 12-week running program designed to increase their running ability, self-esteem, and, in general, their emotional, social, and mental well-being. It was hypothesized that girls would experience favorable changes in their global self-esteem, appearance, peer, physical, and running self-concepts and their attitudes toward fat. The overall RM-ANOVA examining for pre to post differences was significant, F(13, 8) = 26.46, p < .001, η2 = .977, and follow-up within subjects contrasts revealed three significant differences: Physical, F(1, 20) = 6.24, p < .02, η2 = .24, and running self-concept, F(1, 20) = 11.18, p< .003, η2 = .36, as well as fear of fat, F(1, 20) = 4.37, p < .049, η2 = .18, were all significant with meaningful effect sizes. These findings provided preliminary support for the major goal of the GOTR program, enhancing physical and running self-concept with some support for secondary gains in nonphysical ability areas (i.e., reductions in fear of fat).

Jeffrey Martin, Andria McCabe, and Yun Seok Choi are with the Division of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Jennifer J. Waldron is with the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.