Body Image Differences by Sport in Division I Male Athletes

Lorraine Killion, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, USA
Dean Culpepper, Lubbock Christian University, USA

Theme: Motivation and self-perceptions

Poster Number: 61

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Recent research has investigated males and a drive for muscularity indicating an increasing concern for males’ body appearance. A desire to enhance their physical image has increased pressure to meet a body ideal for their sport (Galli, Reel, Petrie, Greenleaf, & Carter, 2011). The drive to be bigger and better is a compelling argument to gain a competitive edge in sports. Building muscle mass and strength to achieve a stronger physique has been seen for decades. Even the Mitchell Report (2007) demonstrated going beyond the gym to achieve that edge--doing whatever it takes to win. This study examined three Division I male sports and their athletes’ body perceptions. Ninety four athletes volunteered to participate in the study: football (n=51), basketball (n=14), and baseball (n=29). Demographic and anthropometric measures were taken. The Multidimensional Body Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ-AS) was administered with five subscales examined. Due to unequal samples in the sports, an Unequal weighted means, Method 1 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007) ANOVA was conducted and yielded differences between Body Area Satisfaction F(2, 92) = 20.61, p>.001, Appearance Evaluation F(2,92) = 6.50, p=.002, and Appearance Orientation F(2, 92) = 9.84, p<.001. Bonferroni post hoc tests showed baseball players demonstrated a unique difference from their football and basketball cohorts: AE (p=.002), AO (p=.000), & BAS (p=.000). Findings shed additional light onto male body image. While Fitness Orientation showed no significant differences, Appearance Orientation yielded a more meaningful score for baseball players. Baseball has a history and infamous past concerning the need to “bulk up.” Regulations and legal efforts have diminished drug abuse in the sport, but the psychological need to obtain a larger upper body still exists. Researchers and coaches should further examine the baseball culture for behavioral determinants and why such a difference exists between it and other male sports.

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