An Exploratory Assessment of Sociocultural Attitudes and Appearance Comparison Among Athletes With Physical Disabilities

Adapt Phys Activ Q. 2021 Aug 27;1-9. doi: 10.1123/apaq.2020-0244. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

This study aimed to assess the internalization of sociocultural attitudes and appearance comparison among U.S. athletes with physical disabilities. Female (n = 19) and male (n = 25) athletes between the ages of 18 and 73 years completed a quantitative survey along with two exploratory open-ended questions related to body appearance and influencers. Results showed significant correlations between internalization of the thin and low-body-fat ideal and appearance comparison (r = .55, p < .05) and internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .76, p < .05) among women. For men, results showed a significant association between internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .52, p < .05). The findings prompt further investigation of whether appearance comparison and internalization influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating among athletes with physical disabilities.

Keywords: adaptive sport athletes; body image; internalization.