The present study answered Lirgg's (1991) call for confidence studies employing a feminine-typed task by assessing self-confidence and gender appropriateness in college cheerleading. Questionnaires assessing self-confidence and the gender appropriateness of cheerleading and its five subtasks (cheers and motions, partner stunts, jumps, tumbling, and cheerleading dance) were administered to college cheerleaders and to noncheerleader college undergraduates. It was hypothesized that females would possess more self-confidence in their ability at cheerleading and its various subtasks than would males, and that cheerleaders would rate their sport as less gender-stereotyped than would noncheerleaders. MANOVA results supported these hypotheses. On only two subtasks, partner stunts and tumbling, males possessed as much confidence as females did. Females reported more self-confidence on cheerleading and all other subtasks. Furthermore, cheerleaders of both sexes were aware of the stereotypes held by others, but viewed cheerleading and the tasks within it as more gender neutral than did noncheerleaders.
Robert T. Clifton and Diane L. Gill are with the Department of Exercise & Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, HHP Bldg., Greensboro, NC 27412.