Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant Report
This study examined the effects of viewing sexualized versus performance images of male athletes on male adolescent athletes. Male football players (n = 83, mean age = 15.4) viewed sexualized or performance images (n = 5) of male celebrity athletes and then completed explicit and implicit measures of self-perceptions. They also judged the athletic competence and respectability of the athletes in the images. MANOVA results indicated that participants who viewed sexualized images had significantly lower physical (F (1,82) = 5.26, p < .05) and appearance self-esteem than participants who viewed performance images of the same athletes (F (1,82) = 4.03, p < .05). In addition, viewing sexualized images resulted in lower ratings of the athletic competence (F (1,80) = 13.86, p < .001) and respectability of the athletes in the photos compared to viewing performance images (F (1,80) = 33.34, p < .001).
These findings are among the first to demonstrate the negative effects of viewing sexualized images of male athletes on adolescent males. Although there has been a recent increase in the prevalence of sexualized images of athletes (e.g., the ESPN Body Issue) and many claim that these images are empowering and inspiring to young athletes, these results demonstrate otherwise.
Linder, Jennifer, "Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant Report" (2015). Post-Grant Reports. Report. Submission 25.