Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Trisha L. Raque

Second Advisor

Artur Poczwardowski

Third Advisor

Jesse Owen


Athletes with disabilities, Body image, Paralympic, Social comparison, Social pressures, Sport psychology


Evidence suggests that athletes and people with disabilities (PWD) experience multiple body images that change relative to their social context (e.g., Petrie & Greenleaf, 2012). The powerful influence of social factors on body image and disordered eating in women athletes is well-documented (e.g., Schaefer, et al., 2015; Fitzsimmons-Craft et al., 2014), as is the centrality of the body in the lived experience of athletes and PWD (Behel & Rybarczyk, 2012; Galli et al., 2016); yet, limited research has explored the effects of social factors on body image in athletes with disabilities (i.e., AWD; e.g., Galli et al., 2016; Sousa et al., 2009). This project examined the effects of social pressures about body and appearance, in and outside of sport, on body dissatisfaction and body appreciation in women AWD, in light of evidence identifying sport as a source of body acceptance, pride, and competence for AWD (Galli et al., 2016). Further, internalization of body ideals and social comparison were evaluated as mediating mechanisms underlying relationships between sport appearance pressures and body image in AWD. Results demonstrated that both social and sport pressures had significant direct effects on body image outcomes. Additionally, the direct effect of sport pressures on body dissatisfaction was partially mediated by internalization and social comparison, while the direct effect of sport pressures on body appreciation was partially mediated by social comparison. Results provided a foundation for future explorations of the effects of social factors on body image in AWD, including initial support for sociocultural frameworks of body image in this context. Results, limitations, and implications for clinical practice and research are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Brooke R. Lamphere


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

219 pgs


Counseling psychology