Female dancer’s perception of body image in relation to resistance training
University of Wales
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The primary aim of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the psychological and sociological factors that impact on dancer’s perception of their body image, as well as their adherence to resistance training. Seven semi-structured interviews (1 pilot study) (mean ± SD: number of years spent training 14.3±22.9 years) were undertaken looking at topic areas of society, peers, dance teachers and parental influence affecting the dancer’s body image. Six different sized body images were presented to the participants to perceive which figure they found most acceptable for dance (Pauwels, 2006). The participants were also asked which figure they related their body to. Three anonymous pictures of each participant were taken, showing profile, side and back portraits. Comparisons were then made as to how accurately the participants perceived their body image to be, and if they deemed their body’s as acceptable for dance (Silverman, 2010). Five out of 6 participants overestimated their body size (Corove-Fingeret et al., 2004). The most influential source was society, negatively portraying resistance training for women and pressures to be slim. Dance teachers were also reported to have negatively influenced the dancer’s body images (Soloman et al., 2005). Family was reported to be the most positive influential source (Hamilton, 1997). The dancers stated that an increase in education of correct techniques for resistance training may increase their adherence, although none of the participants stated they would train with anything but 'light' resistance. The study showed negative pressures to be thin from society and dance teachers and ballet created a psychological 'barrier' towards women training with resistance (Pearl and Goluke, 2001; McCabe et al., 2001; Soloman et al., 1995). A fear of losing femininity and being perceived to have an 'unacceptable' body image for dance prevents dancers adhering to resistance training (Koivula, 2001).
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