Socially Constructed Body Image of Female Adolescent Cheerleaders

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Adolescent cheerleaders are seen as American icons, but psychosocial factors can predispose them to body image disturbances and disordered eating. Understanding body image development is critical to promoting healthy body image, as well as preventing disordered eating and its related health risks. The purpose of this study was to explore the development of body image among adolescent female cheerleaders. A grounded theory approach was used to conduct 26 interviews with 14 adolescent female cheerleaders (M = 14.07, SD = 2.40) who cheered at All-star gyms, junior high, or high schools to explore their body image experiences. The categories included body awareness (i.e., physical changes, body comparison), cheerleading environment (i.e., cheerleading image, position body type, uniform), and social factors (i.e., parental influences, comments from others). These categories influenced body image through the central category, developing attitude, demonstrating the complexity of body image construction among adolescent females.

Sonya SooHoo, Ph.D. University of Utah 1819 10th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94122 E–mail: sonyasoohoo@gmail.com Phone: (415)939-2433

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