“I Kinda Feel Like Wonder Woman”: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Pole Fitness and Positive Body Image

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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The purpose of this research was to describe and interpret the positive body image experiences of women actively engaged in pole fitness. A total of seven women between the ages of 20 and 36 years participated in semistructured one-on-one interviews and follow-up interviews. Participant observation was also used to generate data. Data were analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach, and the positive body image experiences of women are represented by five themes: (a) observation and exposure fostering body acceptance, (b) performance promoting self-confidence, (c) personal growth and sexual expression, (d) unconditional community support creates comfort, and (e) body appreciation through physical skill development. Findings suggest that women engaging in pole fitness may experience positive body image, and the words of participants provide insight into the components of pole fitness that may foster positive body image. Pole fitness may provide a unique exercise context whereby women can develop and maintain positive body image.

Ariel J. Dimler, Kimberley McFadden, and Tara-Leigh F. McHugh are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Tara-Leigh F. McHugh at tmchugh@ualberta.ca.
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