The use of therapeutic riding to enhance physical competence in adolescent girls
LE3 .A278 2015
Bachelor of Kinesiology
During adolescence the body undergoes many cognitive and physical changes. These transformative changes can have both negative and positive influences on how one perceives one’s body image (Cash & Smolak, 2011). Body image is a multidimensional experience that influences self-attitudes towards one’s physical appearance (Cash & Pruzinsky, 2002). Body image is traditionally associated with a focus on appearance, and body dissatisfaction occurs when individuals experience negative self-evaluations of their physical appearance (Cash & Pruzinsky, 2002). Currently, one of the most effective ways to reduce the negative implications associated with body image disturbances is to engage in physical activity (Frisén & Holmgvist, 2010). Physical activity plays a vital role in physiological health and psychological well-being, especially among developing young adults (Laus, Costa, & Almeida, 2013). One physical activity that has been used in the management of mental health disorders and physical disabilities is therapeutic horseback riding. Therapeutic horseback riding is a type of animal-assisted therapy that allows individuals to form meaningful relationships, learn basic riding skills, and discover personal strengths through individually-tailored riding lessons (Jenkins & DiGennaro-Reed, 2013). Therapeutic riding is a novel approach that offers a unique and interactive environment that may increase young riders’ self-esteem and foster positive body image. There is little research that has been conducted on the development of physical competence as a means to improve the body-image perceptions of adolescent girls. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the use of therapeutic riding and its potential to enhance physical competence and physical self-perceptions in adolescent girls.
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