Female professional bodybuilders have received a substantial amount of scholarly and media attention. However, investigations have largely been conducted from a pathologizing perspective. This exploratory research investigated the female bodybuilding community from a positive development perspective. Thematic analysis was applied to twenty four publicly available online video interviews of female professional bodybuilders ranging in age from 29-49 years to understand the reasons as to why females take up the sport of bodybuilding, and to identify factors that contribute towards continued participation. Identified themes were framed within Self-Determination Theory. The findings indicate that pursuing bodybuilding can provide mechanisms that link the activity to psychological well-being by enhancing autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In light of these findings, it is a worthwhile endeavor for researchers to further examine the sport of female bodybuilding from a positive functioning perspective. Further research can provide a better understanding of how active engagement in bodybuilding can positively impact psychological health and subjective well-being.
Suffolk, Mark T.
"Professional Female Bodybuilding: Self-Determination Theory Approach,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 16:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol16/iss3/6