Princeton University Library Catalog

Female Athletes’ vs. Non-Athletes’ Perceived Body Appearance and Its Dependence on Self- vs. Others’ Appraisal

Peake, Madeleine [Browse]
Senior thesis
Sugarman, Susan [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year:
49 pages
Summary note:
This study explores social comparison theory and self-objectification theory of undergraduate female varsity athletes and undergraduate female non-varsity athletes, with respect to self-esteem, body image and body attitude. Based on a survey of 260 women, the goal was to evaluate and compare the variety of opinions provided in the survey to commonly accepted perceptions of women. Generally speaking, social comparison theory is a commonly accepted academic theory wherein one studies why individuals compare themselves to others (Festinger, 1954). Self-objectification theory explores how individuals view their body as a separate entity from their self as a whole (Fredrickson, Roberts, Quinn & Twenge, 1996). The analysis revealed that undergraduate female varsity athletes tend to socially compare more than undergraduate female non-varsity athletes. Female non-varsity athletes do self-objectify slightly more than undergraduate female varsity athletes. Overall, results demonstrated that undergraduate female varsity athletes struggle with body image because of the social comparison they endure on a daily basis. The findings also highlight the larger pressure and demands undergraduate female varsity athletes feel as a result of the internal and external pressures associated with being a student athlete.