Use of Symbols for Defining a Role: Do Clothes Make the Athlete?

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Iowa State University
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether cyclists at different levels of involvement in the sport differ in their use of cycling clothing for role definition A social psychological model provides the theoretical framework for the study of 56 female bicyclists. Lower involved cyclists did not show a tendency to use dress to compensate for lack of achievement in the sport role. In addition, no differences were found between higher involved and lower involved cyclists in their expression of individuality through dress and conforming behavior to other cyclists. Possible intervening factors, such as gender role socialization, subcultural norms and traditions, experience, and achievement motivation, as evidenced in previous and present research, were discussed as to how they may confound applicability of the model.

Marsha A. Casselman-Dickson and Mary Lynn Damhorst are with the Department of Textiles and Clothing at Iowa State University, 1052 LeBaron Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1120.

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