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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The impact of short-term adventure experiences on the body image of women over forty
by Woodruff, Sara Kay Larson, M.A., Prescott College, 2009, 91; 1462078
Abstract (Summary)

This study obtained quantitative and qualitative data on the impact of adventure experiences on the body image of women over forty utilizing a 32-item on-line questionnaire including, demographic questions, close-ended questions concerning physical attractiveness and effectiveness, Secord and Jourard's Body Cathexis Scale (1953, as cited in West-Smith, 1997), and open ended questions about women's body image. Thirty-nine women responded to the questionnaire, 22 in the control group and 17 in the adventure group. Moreover, a case-study group consisting of five participants was employed and interviews conducted following a four-day canoe trip. Results reflect high education and income levels and denotes a primarily Caucasian, heterosexual population. This study demonstrates the positive impact short-term adventure experiences can have on a woman's body image perceptions through increased awareness of her body's effectiveness, and amplified cognizance of the importance of being both attractive and effective. The results of this study show that as the value and significance of the body's capabilities develop, consciousness and appreciation of the body amplifies, and self-perceptions of physical attractiveness increase. Providing evidence that as a woman participates in outdoor adventures it is likely that she will realize her body's strength and capabilities, recognize and claim for herself the importance of being proficient, competent, and strong, and come to appreciate the importance of having a positive perception of her body's appearance. The qualitative results substantiate a connection between participation in outdoor adventure activities and positive body image. Participants report that being physically attractive means one possesses a combination of physical ability, inner confidence, expressed self-assuredness, and physical proportion indicating a clear understanding of attractiveness and effectiveness as interconnected.

Key Terms: Outdoor Adventure, Body Image, Adult Women.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mitten, Denise
Commitee: Hill, Paul, Ustin, Arlene
School: Prescott College
Department: Adventure Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 47/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology, Recreation
Keywords: Adventure, Body image, Education, Outdoor, Women, Women's studies
Publication Number: 1462078
ISBN: 978-1-109-00917-0
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