A Life Course Examination of Women’s Team Sport Participation in Late Adulthood

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study contributes to the fields of aging and physical activity by applying the key principles of the life course perspective to investigate women’s team sport participation experience in late adulthood. Through focus groups, data were collected from six competitive softball teams of women (N = 64) ranging from 55 to 79 years old. Data were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for themes related to the life course principles of historical context and place, social embeddedness, agency, as well as trajectories and timing. A key study finding was that the women experienced cultural lag and age-related barriers to resources when playing competitive softball in late adulthood. In addition, the network of shared relationships occupied by these women had both positive and negative influences on their participation in competitive sports. Study findings can help inform services and programs at the local community level aimed at enhancing women’s physical activity and health in late adulthood.

Wong is an Assistant Professor in Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Son is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Movement Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. Professor West and Assistant Professor Narr are with the Dept. of Recreation Management and Physical Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. Liechty is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL.

Address author correspondence to Jen D. Wong at wong.606@osu.edu.
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