Psychology Faculty Publications

Title

Shared Height-related Dynamics and Unique Perspectives of Tall College Women Athletes

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Journal Title

Journal of Contemporary Athletics

ISSN

15549933

Volume

12

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

17

Abstract

The present study summarizes previous qualitative research by Firmin, Hoffman, Firmin, Lee, & Vorobyov (2012) and Firmin, Hoffman, Firmin, Lee, & Vorobyov (2013) in which we had interviewed 24 college females who were 5'11" or taller regarding their self-perceptions of being tall. The findings of these interviews are compared to findings from a present data collection of 23 college females who were 5'10" or taller--but who had the added dynamic of being varsity college athletes. Women from both data sets shared overlapping perspectives regarding the extra attention they received, personal adjustments they had to make, social factors which impacted their lives, and difficulties they experienced with clothing, all as a result of their tallness. However, the two groups also differed in some key ways, with the athletic tall women reporting better satisfactions in some domains and yet greater frustrations in others. Particularly, this study lends to the idea that the tall athletes were better able to celebrate their tallness as a direct result of their participation and success in athletics. Conversely, participants in the athlete sample also shared an increased frustration which differed from their non-athlete counterparts. This frustration related to the possible perception of others that due to their height and body type they lacked desired femininity.

Keywords

Athletes, height, qualitative research, social adjustments, tall

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