There is an abundance of research explaining the physical and psychological benefits of sport and exercise. Some research suggests sport and exercise may act as a protective factor against body dissatisfaction for adolescent females (Fernández-Bustos et al., 2019; Soulliard et al. 2019). However, it is unclear if adolescent females’ experiences in specific sport settings contribute to perceptions about their bodies. Therefore, this study investigated body perception and its sociocultural influences in adolescent females in team sports versus adolescent females in individual sports. Three focus groups of team sport athletes and two focus groups of individual sport athletes, ages 14-16 years, were conducted. The following four core themes were identified around influences and messaging in sport related to the athletes’ bodies: relationships among teammates and coaches, self-concept, functionality, and social influence. Based on these themes, the findings indicate adolescent female athletes may view sport as a helpful tool to reduce or counteract body dissatisfaction, particularly in team sport athletes. However, sport may not entirely reduce the negative impact from normative and potentially harmful messages surrounding body weight and image, both of which are pervasive in society, the media, and relationships with influential individuals, such as friends, family, and coaches.
Deogracias-Schleich, Alicia; Blom, Lindsey C.; Myers, Kayla E.; Aegisdottir, Stefania Ph.D.; Coker-Cranney, Ashley; Blake, Allison; Ausmus, J.C.; and Walker, Miata
"Female Adolescent Athletes’ Experiences of Body Dissatisfaction Across Individual and Team Sports,"
Journal of Athlete Development and Experience: Vol. 4:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/jade/vol4/iss3/4