Nowadays, research on the body and the values it embodies is considered fundamental in the research field of sport studies. There is a correlation between the choice of values preferred by youth and changes taking place in contemporary society. The postmodern society is a society in which body values prevail over all other ones; the type of body values dominant in a capitalist society are mostly those which are connected to the hedonistic, esthetic and emotional dimension of the body itself.
Starting from this background, this study aims to draw the hierarchy of body values, focusing on sport sciences students at Italian, Latvian and Romanian universities, who will be future educators and professionals of body care and well-being in the European society, in order to understand their preferences and the possible cultural differences that can emerge from the three societies.
To carry out the research, a randomized sample of 300 subjects - female and male students (100 per country) - attending first-, second- and third-year sport sciences courses at the University of Rome "Foro Italico", the Latvian Academy of Sport Education in Riga, and Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca were selected.
The students' values hierarchy was obtained through a Likert-scale-based questionnaire adapted and translated into Italian, Latvian and Romanian. The aim of the questionnaire was to detect the level of agreeability or disagreeability shown by each student when presented with words regarding 10 main body values models: biological body; ecological body; instrumental body; dynamic/sporting body, emotional/social body; ethical body; esthetical body; religious body; intellectual body; pleasure body.
The data obtained were statistically processed and compared. The results showed that the hierarchy of body values in young students of sports sciences is broadly in line with those of postmodern society and education, and that there are differences in the perception of values among students due to cultural differences and the traditions of the societies in which they live. The research also highlighted the need to develop a more effective moral education, one that focuses on ethics, in the curricula of the three universities studied.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.