Self-Concept and Body Image of Turkish High School Male Athletes and Nonathletes

By Asci, F. Hulya; Gokmen, Hulya et al. | Adolescence, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Self-Concept and Body Image of Turkish High School Male Athletes and Nonathletes


Asci, F. Hulya, Gokmen, Hulya, Tiryaki, Gul, Asci, Alper, Adolescence


INTRODUCTION

Self-concept is one of the psychological constructs that has been extensively researched in the field of sports. It has a prominent role in human behavior, with positive self-image central to the adaptive functioning and everyday happiness of the individual (Harter, 1986, 1988a). Moreover, it is the central aspect of personality and several identifiable personality traits - self-confidence, consistency, assertiveness, assurance, regard, respect, and esteem (Salokun, 1990a).

It is important to note that self-concept, like many psychological constructs, can have many different definitions. For example, Pangrazi (1982) defined self-concept as "a system of ideas, attitudes, values, and commitments that constitute a person's inner world." According to Burn (1982), "self-concept is composed of all beliefs and evaluations you have about yourself." Fox (1990) described self-concept as "a self description, whereby a series of statements are used such as 'I am male,"I am a student,' to formulate a multifaceted personal picture." Thus, it can be concluded that self-concept is an aspect of affective behavior and an indicator of an individual's behavior and emotional and mental well-being.

Self-concept is influenced by many factors, such as age, sex, academic achievement, and socioeconomic status. Body image is also an important element of self-concept development. How persons feel about themselves is related to how they feel about their body. Height, weight, girth, eye color, complexion, and general body proportions are very much related to feelings of personal adequacy (Hamacheck, 1978).

Body image has been defined in different ways and is closely related to self-concept. Body image has been described "as the subjective experience or feeling that a child has of his own body derived from internal sensory stimuli and from the impressions he has gained of the reactions of other people" (Whiting et al., 1973). Hamachek (1978) noted that "body image is an aspect of self-concept. A person's physical self is the outer shell which houses all of his inner feelings and as such it deserves to be recognized and understood for whatever its potential is for eliciting social responses which contribute to an individual's overall concept of himself." Many other researchers have also noted a relation between serf-concept and body image (Rosen & Ross, 1968; Lerner & Gellert, 1969; Secord & Jourard, 1953; Balogun, 1986; Zion, 1965).

These closely related constructs - self-concept and body image-may be affected by athletic participation. Research on the effect of athletic participation on self-concept, body image, and the relationship between self-concept and body satisfaction has produced conflicting results. For example, Schumaker, Smoll, and Wood (1986), Salokun (1990b), and Smith (1986) found a significant effect of athletic participation on self-concept while Magill and Ash (1979) and Manning (1990) found no significant differences in self-concept between athletes and nonathletes.

On the other hand, most of the studies were conducted with college males and females. There has been little interest in studying this relation among athletes and nonathletes.

Thus, the purpose of this study was to answer the following questions: Are there significant differences between the self-concepts of high school male athletes and their nonathlete counterparts? What are the differences in their satisfaction with body parts? What is the relationship between self-concept and satisfaction with body parts for athletes and nonathletes?

METHOD

Subjects

High school male athletes (n= 174) and high school male non-athletes (n= 174) were selected from eight schools which represent the middle socioeconomic status in the city of Ankara. The male athletes were selected from school teams (soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, and track and field) from ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades. …

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