Year of Publication

2008

Date of Thesis

05-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between body image perceptions and mental imagery among female collegiate varsity rowers. More specifically, the study investigated the body image perceptions and use of mental imagery between high skilled and low skilled rowers. It was hypothesized that rowers with a positive body image would use a more external imagery perspective while those with a negative body image would employ more of an internal imagery perspective. It was also hypothesized that those having a higher skill level would be more likely to image themselves internally whereas those at a lower skill level would be more likely to image themselves externally. Finally, it was hypothesized that there would be no difference in imagery perspective between genders. A total of 24 subjects volunteered and completed the study: nineteen females and five males. Due to the few males that participated, the male data were omitted from all analyses. All subjects were sophomore, junior, or senior varsity rowers on a collegiate rowing team. Following informed consent, each rower completed three body image measures, two mental imagery measures, and a demographics questionnaire over a three day period. They also had anthropometric measurements taken of height, weight, skinfolds, and body circumference measures. The head coach completed a questionnaire, which asked the coach to rate each athlete's technique, compare the athlete to previous athletes, and rank them in comparison to their current teammates. Athletes were then classified as high skilled or low skilled athletes based on their coach's perception of technique rating and ranking as well as their ergometer performance on the rowing machine. After splitting the athletes into high and low skilled groups, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with two levels was run. The results of this study found that the high and low skilled groups did not differ significantly in imagery perspective except for the kinesthetic portion of the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (MIQ-R). On two of the body image measures - the Body Esteem Scale (BES) and the Body Awareness Questionnaire (BAQ) - the groups did not significantly differ in any areas of body image. The third body image measure, the Physical Self Description Questionnaire (PSDQ), did show significance in one of the subcategories - PSDQ flexibility - but the other subcategories and the total score were not significantly different between groups. There were selected significant correlations between imagery scores and body awareness scores. In conclusion, the higher skilled rowers differed from the lower skilled group in only the MIQ-R kinesthetic scale and on the PSDQ flexibility scale. These results indicate only minimal differences between higher and lower skilled rowers in body image and a complex association among body image measures and imagery ability.

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