Body-Related Emotional Experiences of Young Aboriginal Women

by Fleming, Tara-Leigh

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to provide insight into the bodyrelated emotional experiences of young Aboriginal women. Four young women took part in this study; three who identified themselves as Aboriginal (one 14-year-old, two 18-year-olds) and one who identified herself as non-Aboriginal (18-year-old). An important strength of this study was that the young women were part of an intact group. The young women were members of a mentorship group at their local high school and this mentorship group was for young women who had faced adversity in their lives.

The intent of this study was to listen to the stories and experiences of young women in order to better understand the complex nature of their body-related emotion. Feminist perspective was used to guide the study because it is a voice-centered approach based on listening to women's experiences. Cognitive-Motivational-Relational Theory was used to ground the study because it recognizes that emotion is a complex and context driven process.

Through the use of multiple methods (i.e. focus group, one-on-one interviews, artwork) the young women were able to provide an in-depth view of their experiences. Stake's (1995) guidelines for case study data analysis were followed, and the collective story of the young women's body-related emotional experiences have been described. This study contributes to the literature on the body-related emotional experiences of young Aboriginal women in a number of ways. The young women in this study possess many of the positive attributes (i.e. confidence, optimism) that have been associated with resiliency. Also, the emotions that were experienced by the young women were very complex and dependent upon specific contexts. The five themes that emerged from the data were conflicting cultures, need to belong, personal identity, journey to acceptance, and the body affects everything. Overall, the young women in this study noted a general level of body satisfaction, which is inconsistent with previous research surrounding young women's body-related emotion. One of the most important findings from this study is that the body-related emotional experiences of young Aboriginal women are not as negative as previous research has lead us to believe.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Kowalski, Kent; Humbert, Louise; Cannon, Martin; Baxter-Jones, Adam D. G.

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:aboriginal women body image self esteem related emotion


Date of Publication:07/03/2007

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