Effects of Swimming on Self-Esteem among Female College Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aims to determine changes in the self-esteem levels of female college students in relation to their swimming skills. The results of the study were obtained from of 141 female college students enrolled at the University of Kebangsaan Malaysia. Breaststroke was used in order to evaluate their swimming skills, whereas the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) questionnaire was used to evaluate their self-esteem levels for experimental and control groups. The analysis and observations confirmed the correlation between the level of self-esteem experienced in the water and swimming skills. The results showed that learning how to swim increases the self-esteem among female college students. We suggest that taking up this activity might have benefits for students with low levels of self-esteem.

Keywords: self-esteem, swimming, female students

1. Introduction

An individual's positive feeling toward oneself may be referred to as "self-esteem" or "self-concept" (Auweele, Association, & Education, 1999; Liukkonen & Association, 2007; Tavakolizadeh, Abedizadeh, & Panahi, 2012). Academic, sport, and psychotherapeutic settings aim to develop positive self-esteem in every individual (Bahaeloo-Horeh & Assari, 2008). Various achievement behaviours are influenced by high self-esteem (Marsh & Hattie, 1996), which is associated with an enhanced well-being (Brook & Heim, 1991; Paradise & Kernis, 2002).

An overarching aim of any educational system is the enhancement of students' self-respect. Efforts should be made to widen the scope of activities that can contribute to an enhanced self-concept (Bahaeloo-Horeh & Assari, 2008; Tavakolizadeh et al., 2012).

Sports can effectively improve self-esteem (Douglas Coatsworth & Conroy, 2006). Studies indicate a positive relationship between general exercise and self-esteem (Bahaeloo-Horeh & Assari, 2008; Keikha & Siadat). The association between different sports and self-concept should be assessed separately because the type of sport moderates the effect of exercise on self-esteem (Spence, McGannon & Poon, 2005). Swimming is a sport pursued by many from various age groups. In the present study, we assess the effect of swimming on self-esteem and other factors that correlates with it such as anxiety and the quality of life among university students.

The current research is significant for two reasons. The significance of this study depends on determining the effects of swimming on self-esteem levels of female students. Helping students learn to swim can also enhance their self-esteem and improve their psychological health. Students can increase their self-esteem in their progress of learning how to swimming. The mental aspects are an important part of athletes. For example, if people have high self-esteem, they feel less depressed (Binsinger, Laure, & Ambard, 2006; Douglas Coatsworth & Conroy, 2006; Harter, 2001; Readdy & Ebbeck, 2012). Thus, learning how to swim may increase the students' self-esteem levels.

Low self-esteem are potentially linked to risk behaviours, such as abuse of substances (e.g., alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs), risky sexual behaviour, suicidal ideation and attempts, dieting, and other extreme weight control methods (Binsinger, et al., 2006; Laure, Binsinger, Ambard, Girault & Friser, 2005; Wild, Flisher, Bhana & Lombard, 2004). Young athletes compared with their inactive peers usually show higher self-esteem and lower levels of trait anxiety (Binsinger et al., 2006). To achieve the same objectives, physical activity is often an accessible and helpful instrument (Ekeland, Heian, Hagen & Coren, 2005). The results of this study will also be significant in motivating physical educators and parents to encourage students to participate in physical activities, especially swimming.

1.1 Importance of the Study

Psychological theories and models help researchers to identify the important factors involved in determining human behaviour and facilitate the understanding of a complex behaviour, such as physical activity (Marcus, King, Clark, Pinto, & Bock, 1996). …