Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Quality physical education can positively influence students’ emotional development, specifically their perceptions of competence, self-esteem, and self-concept. Unfortunately, girls often become less engaged and involved in physical education as they grow older and consistently report lower physical self-concepts than males. Physical self-concept is associated with multiple positive outcomes, yet there is only speculation addressing why females report lower physical self-concepts than males in physical education. The overall purpose of this dissertation was to investigate potential explanations for gender discrepancies in physical self-concept among physical education students. One qualitative and one quantitative research study was conducted to address this issue. The purposes of the qualitative study were to capture female students’ personal interpretations of physical self-concept, frame of reference, and the physical education environment. Results indicate that the girls enrolled in same-sex physical education classes perceived the coed environment negatively and experienced pressure regarding physical ability and appearance. Competition in physical education received significant attention and was desirable only in appropriate levels and contexts. Results supported that the students used multiple sources of information in physical self-concept development. Participants conformed to traditional gender norms and viewed males as more aggressive and physically dominant than females. In addition, all participants perceived same-sex physical education as a more desirable setting. The purposes of the quantitative study were to investigate a BFLPE and moderating effects of class type among female students in physical education. It was hypothesized that: a) individual ability would positively predict sport self-concept and class-level ability; b) class-level ability would negatively predict sport self-concept (also known as a BFLPE); and c) class structure (e.g. same sex, coeducational) would moderate the BFLPE in physical education. Results provided evidence that participants in both class types experienced a BFLPE. Class type did not increase or decrease the BFLPE for these students, indicating that the girls in these coed classes were not at an increased risk for experiencing negative consequences to their sport self-concept as a result of a BFLPE. Overall, results provide additional information of physical self-concept development among adolescent females in physical education. Implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research are included.  



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Garn, Alex



Included in

Kinesiology Commons