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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Critical incidents expressed by self-identifying gay males who have changed their exercising behaviour Matear, Douglas Louis


Limited research has been conducted into Canadian gay males and how they attempt to change their bodies by lifting weights. Nine self-identifying gay males provided details of their experience through in-depth interviews. Flanagan's (1954) critical incident technique was used to investigate changes in each participant's exercising behaviour. From these interviews, 11 helping categories emerged which were composed of 51 incidents or events which assisted these individuals in changing their exercising patterns. The most frequently reported incidents included injury or illness, an attitude shift, participation in other activities, changing workout plans or goals, switching gyms or distance from gyms, and establishing a relationship with a lover. A prominent result of this research points to the similarities of experiences. Six categories of critical incidents were reported by more than 25% of the participants interviewed while five categories of critical incidents had less than 25% participation rate. The validity of the categories was checked by two independent raters, by cross checking the categories with most of the participants, by the exhaustiveness of the participation rate and by identifying related literature to support this study. Counsellors will hopefully benefit from this research which attempts to determine appropriate therapeutic techniques and interventions for this particular group. The result of this research also contributes to the field of Counselling Psychology by providing a system of categories or themes that describe a particular group of self-identifying gay males' perspective on what events or incidents influenced them to bring about change to their exercising programs.

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