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ERIC Number: ED555970
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 143
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-2684-8
When Pleasure and Pain Take the Field: The Experience of the Body in Female Collegiate Athletes
Ghidinelli, Kate
ProQuest LLC, Psy.D. Dissertation, The Wright Institute
This study examined the subjective experiences of training and competition at the collegiate level in a small group of former Division I female collegiate athletes. A review of relevant research indicates there is a dearth of qualitative studies on the experiences of female collegiate athletes. The current study explored the experience of pushing the body to extraordinary limits in a collegiate sports environment to better understand the impact of high-level competition on the female athlete's relationship with her body, in part to consider how it may lead to physically and psychologically empowering or destructive consequences; and to obtain a better understanding of the use of the body as an instrument for performance and competition. Participants were eight women between the ages of 23 and 31 years old. These women participated in semi-structured interviews in which they reflected on their experiences of training and competing at the collegiate level. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was utilized to identify salient themes. This researcher identified 16 themes from the primary interview material, which were categorized into the following three domains: The body in training and competition: How they persevered; Gender and athletic identities; and Life after college sports. The results suggest that elements of empowerment and strength, as well as compromises to physical and emotional well-being, co-exist for the female collegiate athlete. In looking at the beneficial and empowering aspects of training and competition, this researcher found that competing at the collegiate level strengthened the female athlete's sense of identity; promoted feelings of pride and strength; fulfilled narcissistic needs to feel powerful and competent; and developed skills that translated into other aspects of her life. In looking at the harmful and destructive consequences of training and competition, this researcher found that not paying attention to bodily and emotional needs led to injuries and breakdowns. In addition, participants felt that they had to keep their emotional struggles private, which deprived them of the support necessary to process those feelings. Over time, their relentless pursuit of goals and pressures to cultivate strength and tenacity may have compromised aspects of their emotional development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A