FEELING ‘DISGUSTING’ IN PE: YOUNG AMBASSADORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF ADOLECENT FEMALES NON-PARTICIPATION IN PE.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study explored the perceptions of individuals that have worked within the YA programme in Wales, about the reasons surrounding adolescent females’ nonparticipation in PE and identifies several techniques that have been used to overcome this issue. Sport Wales’ (SW) (2013) school sport survey has recently outlined that the number of adolescent girls participating in Physical Education (PE) when compared with boys is very low. Critically, without appropriate interventions, this low level participation is likely to either remain or drop even further. It has been suggested that Young Ambassadors (YA) in Wales, can help improve the participation rates of adolescent females in particular schools (SW, 2013). Despite this, the YA perceptions on the issue of low female participation in PE and their experiences of attempting to improve the situation have not yet been academically examined. Following a sampling procedure, four YA and one scheme coordinator were selected to participate in semi-structured qualitative interviews in order to assess their perceptions about the causes for the large number of adolescent girls not participating in PE. The interviews also aimed to identify methods and interventions they have used to tackle the problem. The interviews identified that body image, gender norms, social issues, physical competence and teaching of PE were all contributory factors that influenced low level participation of adolescent females in PE. However, specific issues around body image, such as body issues, ideal image and the media, together with the possible solutions to these issues, emerged as the most prominent in the interviews conducted. Therefore together with solutions to these main issues, these were selected to be analysed in greater depth. The study found that the interventions implemented by YA had impacted on participation. These countered some of the issues mentioned in the themes above. However it was found that the bigger issue of societal gender norms needs to be addressed and tackled at a macro level for a more widespread and long-lasting improvement in girls’ participation.
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