Post-Grant Reports


Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant Report

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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.


This research was conducted as part of a Linfield College Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant in 2014, funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

The student collaborator was Ashli Johnsen.

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