Eighth grade male students' conceptions of physical body image

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deockki Hong (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Catherine Ennis

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine eighth grade male students' conceptions of body image, sociocultural influences, and the extent to which conceptions of body image influence physical activity preferences. Grounded on Foucault's (1977) Panopticon and Bernstein's (2000) body perfection code theories, this study examined students in two middle schools in the southeastern region of the United States. Specifically, three research questions were addressed: (1) how did adolescent males describe their body image; (2) what sociocultural factors affected the development of adolescent males' body image; and (3) how did particular conceptions of body image impact adolescent males' physical activity preferences. Participants were eight, eighth grade adolescent males who completed the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS), pilot interview, pre-visual diary interview, visual diary, and post-visual diary interview. The pilot interview was used to refine interview questions, and the pre- and post-visual diary interviews were used to collect information about conceptions of body image. Participants took thirty photographs to complete the visual diary. Dependent t-tests were used to compare the DMS scores for the attitude and behavior subscales. Interview and visual diary data were analyzed inductively and deductively using the qualitative software, NVivo 10. Photographs were categorized using post-visual diary interview data to generate integrated individual profiles. Triangulation of data sources was conducted using a constant comparison approach. The results were discussed in relation to Foucault's (1977) Panopticon and Bernstein's (2000) body perfection code theories and previous research examining body image. The findings of this study indicated male students' conceptions of body image differ with some students being satisfied with their bodies while others were dissatisfied. More specifically, some participants revealed they wanted to be strong, but not overly muscular, while others were comfortable with the way they looked. Secondly, conceptions of body image were influenced by sociocultural factors such as media, parents, and peers. Lastly, conceptions of body image seemed to have an impact on physical activity preferences. Based on the analysis of participant interviews and visual diary photographs, five themes consistent with the construct of the Panopticon and body perfection code emerged: Adonis Complex (body dissatisfaction), Dionysian (body satisfaction), Hidden Acceptance (an unconscious acceptance of sociocultural influences to fit socially produced norms), Lack of Concern (an indifference to sociocultural influences), and Critical Awareness (an ability to be aware of sociocultural influences critically). Expanding the body image research pertaining to adolescent males may give better insight into bullying behaviors, body acceptance, physical activity preferences, and the use of innovative curricula to increase critical awareness of body image. In addition, physical education teachers and administrators could use the results from this study to select appropriate strategies to help adolescent male students understand the impact that media-distortion and significant others may have on their body image.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Body image, Masculinity, Middle school male students, Muscularity, Physical activity, Physical education
Body image in adolescence
Teenage boys $x Psychology
Self-perception in adolescence
Exercise $x Psychological aspects

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