Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

William Russell


The purpose of this study was to examine if female athletes' physical self-perceptions are different when comparing their Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) scores within their competitive season with their scores during the off-season. The second purpose was to determine if physical self-perception varied as a function of their athletic identity. A secondary objective was to evaluate female athletes' physical self-esteem in an individual sport setting compared to a team sport setting. Eastern Illinois University female collegiate athletes in six different sports, track (n=15), softball (n=16), soccer (n=11), tennis (n=3), volleyball (n=5), and rugby (n=19) were given the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS) once and the PSPP during both in-season and out-of-season time periods. A series of one-way repeated measures ANOVAs were run on each separate PSPP subscale with repeated measures on time to determine physical self-esteem changes over time. The results revealed a main effect for time on body attractiveness. Body attractiveness was higher in-season (M = 15.59) than during the off-season (M = 14.75). Athletic identity was partitioned into high and low athletic identity so that a one-way MANOVA could be performed using AIMS scores (median cutoff for AIMS score (47)) as the independent variable and the PSPP change scores as the dependent variable (in-season scores minus out-of-season scores). The change scores for the overall MANOVA for athletic identity were nonsignificant. (Wilks Lambda = .94, F (5, 63) = .87, p = .51). This result indicated that the participants in this study were not different in their physical self-perception scores across a competitive cycle as a function of their different levels of athletic identity. A one-way MANOVA was performed with sport type (team, individual) as the categorical independent variable and the PSPP change scores (in-out-of-season PSPP) as multiple dependent variables. The results indicated that sport type did not affect the athletes ' physical self-perceptions (Wilks Lambda = .96, F (4, 64) = .15, p = .96). The significant finding in the present study was similar to those of other studies indicating that body attractiveness has a major influence over physical self-perception in females. It was concluded that female athletes' physical self-esteem appears to be resistant to fluctuations from in-season to off-season and for varying levels of athletic identity.