Sex-typing of Physical Activities and Success Predictions of Children before and after Cross-sex Competition

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Elementary school children, 20 boys and 20 girls, served as subjects in this investigation designed to determine how children sex-typed each of three different motor activities and to study their success predictions before and after cross-sex competition. Results of the study indicated that both boys and girls sex-typed a motor task requiring strength, speed, and power as a “male” activity, while the two other motor tasks were characterized as “male-female.” The self-confidence levels of girls, as measured by success predictions were lower than boys prior to competition but only for the “male” activity. After cross-sex competition in which girls succeeded as often as the boys, self-confidence of girls was no different than for boys. There were no sex differences in postcompetition state anxiety levels. All subjects regardless of sex were more threatened after competing in a “male” as opposed to a “male-female” activity, and they experienced lower state anxiety following successful rather than unsuccessful competition.

Corbin is currently on sabbatical leave in the Motor Behavior Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University. Nix completed the first phase of this study as a thesis for partial fulfillment of the requirements for an M.S. degree in Physical Education at Kansas State University. Both phases of the research were supported by a grant from the Bureau of General Research, Kansas State University. Appreciation is extended to Sister Helen, Dennis Meehan, the teachers, and the students of Seven Dolars Elementary School in Manhattan, Kansas for their assistance with this study.

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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