Gender Identity Development in Female Athletes: Challenges and Benefits
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This thesis explores gender identity development in female athletes in an attempt to highlight the corresponding challenges and benefits female athletes may experience. Autobiographical narrative is the framework for this study, as my own experiences highlight many of the issues of concern in current research. Three major themes emerged. First, in relation to physical appearance, the study emphasizes and provides information on the need to foster lifestyles that encourage healthy attitudes. Second, in regards to developing values, the power and influence of those involved with the female athletes is explored. Lastly, in connection to performing femininity, problems are located in dominant cultural narratives as they relate to gender identity development. Implications for counseling, especially narrative therapy practice are explored.