HOW DO EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS OF MENSTRUATION AND ASSOCIATED MENSTRUAL TABOOS AFFECT FEMALE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE AND WELLBEING
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
In order for this project to have the greatest and most significant impact within the field and applied settings, it requires a large number of people to take part. We still have so much to learn about menstruation in sport, and it is our hope as a research team that by conducting our survey online in Part One of this project, we will be able to connect to a global network of people experiencing menstruation in sport. The lived experiences of athletes all over the world will add to the rich variety of stories we aim to collect as part of this research project, and help to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
The direct link to the survey is below:
The current study is comprised of two parts; a mixed-methods (qualitative and quantitative) online questionnaire (launching 01/07/20) exploring female athletes’ attitudes towards menstruation, it’s perceived effect upon sporting performance, and perception of menstrual taboo. This will be followed by a subsequent (online) interviews with a small number (6-10) of participants, who volunteered to be selected for a potential follow-up interview. These interviews will explore in greater depth, the individual lived experience of menstrual taboo and any associated stigma within sport.
Part 1: Online Questionnaire
Participants will be required to answer an online-based questionnaire. The questionnaire will be advertised online and promoted strategically through word-of-mouth, Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and email. The survey will consist of quantitative (e.g. scale measures) and qualitative (open answer) questions. Participants’ sporting experience will be noted, and items measuring participants’ menstrual cycle (MC) experience, self-reported blood loss, perception of side effects, use of sanitary protection and perceived MC side-effects. Their perception and experience of menstrual taboo and any associated stigma will also be measured.
Part 2: Interviews
Subsequently, a sample of suitable participants (those with notable self-reported experience of menstrual taboo/stigma and/or significant perception of such taboos existing within their sporting lives) will be invited to take part in a follow-up interview. An in-depth, qualitative study of females athletes’ experiences of menstrual taboo/stigma and its impact upon performance and wellbeing will generate enhanced understanding of the issues to consider when working with female athletes and evolve the practical guidance for coaches, stakeholders and policy makers as to how to best approach and manage menstrual stigma within female sport and overcome existing taboos. It has been proposed that IPA (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis) would be a suitable form of qualitative data analysis, if the data yields appropriate lived experience of menstrual taboo and associated stigma from the participant sample at the questionnaire level. However, should a lack of lived experience be observed, then alternative qualitative methodology will be utilised (e.g. thematic/narrative analysis, grounded theory).
Dissemination of Findings
At present, specific mechanisms/methods of disseminating findings to interested parties (outside of seeking publication in a peer-reviewed journal) have not been determined. Liaison with LJMU, UWS and the University of Lincoln comms (communications) teams will be required, and sought in due process.
Template Research Advert
How do perceptions of menstruation and associated menstrual taboos affect female athletic performance and wellbeing?
Are you someone who takes part in sport and experiences menstruation?
If you are aged 18+ we would love to hear from you!
Our research project aims to better understand how the experiences and perceptions of menstruation can affect female athletic performance and wellbeing. If you experience(d) regular menstruation throughout your sporting life/career, you are eligible to take part! We welcome athletes from all sports, of all abilities, from all over the world!
Please click the link below to access the participant information sheet and questionnaire, it should take around 15 minutes to complete. You can opt-in to a potential follow-up interview by leaving a contact email address once you finish. There is also a prize draw for a £30 voucher!
We still have lots to understand about how menstruation may affect performance and wellbeing, and by taking part in this research, or sharing this link with your friends, you are helping to make a big difference!
Keep up with the project and its findings on Twitter and Instagram by following us at: @menstruation_in_sport
Who can I contact to find out more?
Laura Kiemle-Gabbay (lead researcher) LJMU (Liverpool John Moores University)
Dr. Laura Forrest (co-researcher) UWS (University of the West of Scotland)
Dr. Daniel Martin (co-researcher) University of Lincoln
Dr. Martin Eubank (academic supervisor) LJMU (Liverpool John Moores University)