Beliefs about gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability have been identified as powerful influences on beliefs about competence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interaction of those two factors on competence beliefs in physical activity. Participants completed a survey about the sport of hockey, watched a video of a specific hockey skill, and then responded to questions about the skill. Males expressed more confidence in their ability to learn hockey than females, but females who perceived the activity to be gender neutral were more confident in their ability to learn hockey than females who believed the activity was predominantly for males. Participants’ explanations of their beliefs about gender appropriateness and confidence shed light on how competence beliefs are affected by perceptions of gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability.
Melinda Solmon, Amelia Lee, Louis Harrison, and Lori Wells are with the Dept. of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; Donald Belcher is with the Dept. of Kinesiology at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486.