Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Jennifer Putnam

Abstract

Despite all the known social, mental, and physical benefits of physical activity, a large percentage of girls choose to engage in even less physical activity than they did as young children. Social acceptance is at its highest during the adolescent age and societal differences generated from parents, friends, and the media have created women whose general life contentment is often correlated to their perceived body image.

This mixed methods study—based on the social learning, social comparison, and feminist theories—sought to explore how physical activity level affects body image in high school females. The Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A; Kowalski, Crocker, & Donen, 2004), the Body Image States Scale (BISS; Cash, Fleming, Alindogan, Steadman, & Whitehead, 2002), and the Body Appreciation Scale-2 (BAS-2; Tylka & Wood-Barcalow, 2015) were used to survey high school females’ physical activity levels and perceptions of body image. After survey results were analyzed, no significant relationship was found between physical activity level and body image.

Using convergent parallel design, the researcher interviewed volunteer participants and discovered a variety of factors that contributed to the choice to be physically active and to an adolescent female’s perception of body image. Future research concerning the relationship between factors identified in the study is necessary to more comprehensively understand females’ choice to be physically activity and their development of body image.

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