Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Exercise-Psychological aspects, Women-Psychology, Women-Mental health, Women-Social networks, Self psychology, Social support


This qualitative study uses a Self Psychology framework to explore how a socially supported exercise program, CrossFit, influences women's sense of self and their feelings of vitality. The experiences and perspectives of twenty-seven female members of CrossFit gyms were elicited through self-developed, semi-structured interviews composed of questions that encouraged participants to reflect on what ways they have experienced mirroring, twinship, idealization, and feelings of vitality at their CrossFit gym. All participants reported experiencing these Self Psychology indicators. Every participant also reported that the social support that they experienced at their gym was important to them. The findings of this study suggest the value of interventions that incorporate clients' bodies and relationships. Implications of this study suggest that socially supported exercise can be utilized to improve mental states and that further exploration is warranted.




iii, 54 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 45-48)