Elizabeth Pritchard’s MA Thesis Defence

Title: Relationship Between Body-Related Self-Conscious Emotions and Motivational Sport Experiences Among Adolescent Females: Examining Moderation Effects of Physical Self-Perceptions

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Peter Crocker
Committee members: Dr. Guy Faulkner, Dr. Catherine Sabiston (Professor, University of Toronto)
Chair: Dr. Moss Norman

Abstract: Participation in sport provides many psychological, physical and social health benefits for adolescents. Unfortunately, female adolescents participate in organized sport significantly less than their male peers. During adolescence, appearance and social evaluations begin to hold a greater significance for young females, which creates a vulnerable period for body image related thoughts, behaviours, and emotions, such as body-related self-conscious emotions (pride, shame, guilt, envy and embarrassment). Recent research suggests that negative and positive body-related self-conscious emotions may influence specific sport experiences. Additionally, physical self-perceptions may moderate this relationship, such that higher levels of physical self-perceptions may protect against the damaging effects of negative body-related emotions. This research explored the influence of body-related emotions and physical self-perceptions on motivational sport experiences within an adolescent female population. A sample of 107 females (13 to 18-years-old) who were currently participating in an organized sport completed an online survey assessing appearance and fitness body-related self-conscious emotions, social physique anxiety, physical self-concept, perceived athletic competence, and sport motivation, commitment and enjoyment. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between body-related emotions, physical self-perceptions and motivational sport experiences. Results indicated that positive body-related emotions were related to positive motivational sport experiences, while negative body-related emotions were associated with poor motivational sport experiences. Furthermore, physical self-perceptions were related to positive motivational sport experiences, but did not moderate the relationship between body-related emotions and sport experiences. Overall, this research has the potential to inform future intervention strategies aimed at reducing negative body-related emotions in female sport and encouraging positive sport participation experiences and outcomes.