• An Investigation of Body Image Among NCAA Female Athletes

      Madden, Colleen
      Over the last several decades, body image perceptions of collegiate female athletes have been investigated in the realms of both physical and mental health. The issue has been evaluated from various standpoints including sport type and competition level; however, body image is highly individualized among young women and thus remains an unpredictable challenge with unanswered questions. This comprehensive study includes an extensive literature review of research involving collegiate female athletes and factors that contribute to their body image; additionally, a newly developed survey for female athletes at the NCAA Division I level was administered, and more than 150 responses were analyzed. Four research objectives served as the foundation of this research, targeting the ultimate goal to form conclusions about how body image perceptions function in the lives of collegiate female athletes within the NCAA. The objectives were: first, to define body image as applicable to collegiate female athletes; second, to establish pressures that influence body image; third, to determine how the pressures of collegiate sport differ from the pressures on student non-athletes; and fourth, to assess the relationship between nutritional habits and body image among collegiate female athletes. Upon analysis of literature and the new survey, it was concluded that body image is dependent on many factors such as sport type, division level, and media objectification, but more importantly, the ways that individuals internalize such stimuli. Ultimately, the athletic world contributes to body image concerns and creates a unique pressure that cannot be experienced by non-athletes.