Resistance and Persistence: An Expectancy-Value Approach to Understanding Women’s Participation in a Male-Defined Sport

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Achievement choices emanate from a variety of individual and contextual factors, including the influence of significant others and gender-role socialization. An understanding of these factors is important for promoting participation in sport, particularly for women engaged in masculine-typed sports. Five members of the USA women’s wrestling team were interviewed regarding the personal and contextual variables that influenced their choice to wrestle. Questions focused on the athletes’ expectations of success and value for wrestling, their identity as a wrestler, the role of significant others, and the cultural context of wrestling for women. Results revealed that each woman had a strong wrestling identity, had high perceptions of ability, and placed high value on achieving in wrestling. Parents and coaches were the main providers of wrestling opportunities; however, negative interpretations of their involvement from a variety of significant others outnumbered positive influences. While the individual factors confirm sources that would lead a person to select and persist at an achievement task, societal messages did not support these choices. Discussion centers on issues of resistance, persistence, and applied messages.

Moira E. Stuart KNPE Department Northern Illinois University 230 Anderson Hall DeKalb, IL 60115 Email: mestuart@niu.edu Phone: (815) 753-0137 Fax: (815) 753-1413

Diane E. Whaley Dept of Human Services University of Virginia 205 Memorial Gym Charlottesville, VA 22904 Email: dwhaley@virginia.edu Phone: (434) 924-6193 Fax: (434) 924-1389

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