Athletic Body Image: Exploratory Interviews with Former Competitive Female Athlete

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 Dept. of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation PO Box 311337 University of North Texas Denton, TX 76203-1336
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The purposes of this exploratory study were to examine athletic body image and social body image among former competitive female athletes. Additionally, the perceived influence of past competitive experiences on current body image was explored. In-depth interviews were conducted with six former competitive collegiate athletes. The participants ranged in age from 23 to 31, with a mean age of 26. Common factors reported as influencing how participants felt about their bodies as athletes included uniforms, teammates, appearance, fitness, and coach attitudes and behaviors. Participants’ experiences and feelings about their bodies in athletic and social settings varied. Participants recognized some conflict between their athletic body and social ideals, however this incongruence did not seem problematic for most of the participants. Across participants, their current feelings and thoughts about their bodies were based on their former competitive athletic bodies.

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