The Performing Body: Physical Self-Concept in Athletes [abstract]
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This paper presentation will present a review of literature on the unique way the body is negotiated in athletics and pivotal role it plays in identity development and global selfesteem. Current findings will be extended to retired athletes as part of dissertation research on the role of physical self-concept in former collegiate athletes. Self-concept has been viewed as multidimensional and constructed of a variety of roles, characteristics, and competencies, or "sub-selves'". A hierarchical model of selfesteem is generally accepted, wherein global self-esteem is the apex and life domains, including 'physical self-worth' are specified and further broken down into increasing specificity (Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976). It is necessary to consider salience, as the subjective importance placed on any given dimension will determine the influence it has on the individual (Fox & Corbin, 1989). This is important when considering elite athletes, whose everyday activity and cornerstone of identity is encapsulated in physical activity. The performing body and physical competence are central to self-perceptions and self-worth for athletes. High-level athletes place much importance on involvement in sport and are particularly attuned to physical self-perceptions. Most elite athletes derive much of their self-worth from perceived physical competence (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993). Individuals who report high physical competence appear to have more enhanced self-concept and self-esteem (Marsh, Hey, Roche, & Perry, 1997; Marsh, Perry, Horsly, & Roche, 1995).
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