Race, Sport, and Social Support

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Othello Harris Miami University

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This study investigates whether African American student-athletes receive encouragement to participate in sport from the black community (e.g., parents) or from other socializing agents (e.g., teachers, coaches, and friends). A questionnaire was administered to 23 teams in two summer basketball leagues in Washington, D.C., during the summer of 1985. The findings indicate that African American student-athletes are more likely to perceive social support for playing basketball from coaches and friends and especially teachers, who provide encouragement for African Americans to participate in sport, but not from parents. Moreover, support for playing basketball is associated with professional sport aspirations for black, but not white, males.

Othello Harris is with the Department of Physical Education, Health and Sport Studies, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.

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