Adolescent Girls and Body Image: Influence of Outdoor Adventure on Healthy Living


  • Susie K. Barr-Wilson American Alpine Institute
  • Nina S. Roberts San Francisco State University



adolescent girls, outdoor adventure, body image, health


Outdoor adventure may improve body image. However, minimal research exists on the effect outdoor adventure has on body image in adolescent girls, a demographic continually plagued by negative body image. In response, this exploratory study considered the influence of one outdoor adventure program in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through questionnaires and focus groups, 13 high school–aged GirlVentures, Inc. (GV), alumnae discussed body image in the context of “healthy living” and the effect their course had on personal body image. Results show key influences included instructors, other girls on course, and the natural environment. All participants perceived their program as positively influencing their body image during and directly following their course, and most (n = 9) perceived their program as still positively influencing their body image up to 3 years postcourse. Findings offer insight to GV and can provide new information for other outdoor adventure organizations to promote healthy development in adolescent girls. 






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