Athletic or Antisocial? The Female Sport Experience

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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The purpose of this study was to examine relations between women's involvment in sports and three psychological constructs: role conflict, sex-role identification, and multidimensional self-concepts. The three groups comprised female powerlifters competing in a national championship (n = 30), high school female athletes (n = 46), and high school female nonathletes (n = 46). Role conflict was not substantial except for a few specific areas related to conflicting expectations of appropriate female and athlete behavior. Both athletic groups scored substantially higher on masculinity (M) and on self-concept of physical ability than the nonathletic group, but there were no group differences on femininity (F) and few substantial differences in other areas of self-concept. Hence the results provide further support for the construct validity of androgyny and for the multidimensionality of self-concept. The major findings, that female athletes can be more M without being less F, and that female athletic involvement has positive benefits without producing any loss in F or in self-concept, dispels a popular myth about women's involvement in sports.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Herbert W. Marsh, Faculty of Education, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia.

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