• Lasse Haahr Leth
  • Anders Boye Steensen
4. semester, Sports Science, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis was to study how high school students compared themselves with others in physical education (PE) and what consequences this caused.
The thesis was designed as a case study and thus eight in-depth interviews were conducted with students from a high school in Denmark. The empirical data was analysed using the phenomenological method Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and subsequently interpreted and discussed in regards to relevant studies from both inside and outside of a PE context investigating social comparison processes.
It was found that the class and individuals in class was the most widely used and influential frames of reference for social comparisons in high school PE. Comparisons with these frames of reference were discussed in regards to direction (up/down) and type (contrast/assimilation).
We found that the students made downward and upward contrast with the class in PE but found no examples of downward and upward assimilation with the class. We found that the consequences linked to downward contrast with the class were signs of helping behaviour, self-confidence, superiority and engagement in PE, while the consequences linked to upward contrast with the class were signs of a lack of engagement.
In relation to comparisons with individuals in class, we found examples of both upward assimilation and contrast and downward contrast while downward assimilation did not show in the empirical data. We found that the consequences linked to downward contrast with individuals in class were signs of superiority, relief and ambivalence while the consequences linked to upward assimilation were signs of engagement in PE. In addition, we found examples of upward assimilation being used by students in order to improve oneself in activities in PE. We were unable to find any consequences of upward contrast with individuals in class, which is likely due to methodological limitations.
Thus, in this thesis we found tendencies in regards to social comparison processes and possible consequences involved in high school PE that future research should investigate further.
Publication date12 Aug 2016
Number of pages77
ID: 238490642