Body Image in Division I Male Athletes: Why is Baseball High and Outside?

Authors: Lorraine Killion & Dean Culpepper

Corresponding Author:
Lorraine Killion, Ed.D.
Associate Professor
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
700 University Blvd.
Kingsville, TX 78363-8202
lorraine.killion@tamuk.edu
361.593.3095

Lorraine Killion is an Associate Professor in the Health & Kinesiology Department at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She is also the EC-12 Physical Education Program Coordinator.

Dean Culpepper is in the Health and Human Performance Department at Texas A&M University-Commerce and is a Certified Sports Psychology Consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.
Body Image in Division I Male Athletes: Why is Baseball High and Outside?

ABSTRACT
Body image research has largely focused on females and a drive for thinness. Recent research has investigated males and a drive for muscularity indicating an increasing concern for males’ appearance of their body. A desire to enhance their physical image has increased pressure to meet a body ideal for their sport. The purpose of this study was to examine Division I male athletes’ body perceptions. Upon IRB approval, ninety four (N=94) athletes volunteered for the study. To determine body image differences, three sports were considered: football (n = 51), basketball (n = 14), and baseball (n = 29). Demographic and anthropometric measures were taken by the researchers. The Multidimensional Body Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ-AS) was administered and five subscales were examined. ANOVAs documented differences between Body Area Satisfaction [F(2, 92) = 20.61, p> .001], Appearance Evaluation [F(2,92) = 6.50, p =.002], and Appearance Orientation [F(2, 92) = 9.84, p < .001]. Bonferroni post hoc tests showed baseball players demonstrated a unique difference from their football and basketball cohorts: AE (p=.002), AO (p= .000), & BASS (p= .000). Findings shed additional light onto male body image. While Fitness Orientation showed no significant differences, Appearance Orientation yielded a more meaningful score for baseball players. Baseball has a history and infamous past concerning the need to “bulk up.” Regulations and legal efforts have diminished drug abuse in the sport, but the psychological need to obtain a larger upper body still exists. Researchers and coaches should further examine the baseball culture so the behavioral determinants can be better understood. Continue reading