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Psychosocial Climates Differentially Predict 12- to 14-Year-Old Competitive Soccer Players’ Goal Orientations

E. Whitney G. Moore and Karen Weiller-Abels

Youth’s likelihood of participating in sport increases when they maintain a focus on enjoyment, learning, and effort (i.e., task goal orientation) rather than how they compare to others and norms (i.e., ego goal orientation). Achievement goal theory research consistently illustrates the significant influence of leader-created motivational climates on their participants’ goal orientation adoption. However, the influence of caring climate perceptions by highly competitive adolescent athletes on their goal orientation adoption has yet to be examined. Thus, this study assessed how competitive, adolescent soccer players’ perceptions of the climate as caring, task-, and ego-involving predicted their adoption of task and ego goal orientations. Players (N = 152, 62% female, 12–14 years of age) in the Olympic Development Program completed a survey that included measures of the caring climate, task-involving and ego-involving motivational climates, and task and ego goal orientations in soccer. Path analyses revealed males’ task goal orientation was significantly predicted by caring and task-involving climate perceptions. Females’ task goal orientation was significantly predicted by their task-involving climate perceptions. Ego goal orientation was significantly predicted by all athletes’ ego-involving climate perceptions. This is the first study to support the importance of fostering a high caring, as well as high task-involving, and low ego-involving climate when working with highly competitive adolescent athletes to keep their task goal orientation high. Research replicating this study is warranted to provide further support for these relationships longitudinally and across ages and sexes.

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Media Representations of Bipolar Disorder Through the Case of Suzy Favor Hamilton

Rachel Vaccaro and Ted M. Butryn

Individuals suffering from mental illness face challenges that are related to stigma and lack of education that are often reinforced by the media. Specifically, the elite athletic culture is not conducive for athletes who suffer from mental illness because there is at times a belief that mental illnesses are less prevalent in elite sport. Even though incidence of mental illness in elite athletes has gained more prominence in the popular media, there is still a lack of research in this area. Specifically, there is limited research regarding media representations of athletes who suffer from mental illness. To address this gap in the literature, an ethnographic content analysis (ECA) was done to examine Suzy Favor Hamilton’s open discussion of bipolar disorder surrounding the release of her new memoir, Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness. ECA yielded one overarching theme with three supporting sub-themes. Results indicated that even though Favor Hamilton’s book worked to spread awareness, the media attention surrounding the book release represented omission of mental illness in the environment of athletics. Overall, sports culture provides an environment that is not often willing to accept that mental illnesses exist in athletes.

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“I Don’t Really Know What the Magic Wand Is to Get Yourself in There”: Women’s Sense of Organizational Fit as Coach Developers

Leanne Norman

Building on the body of research that has addressed the experiences of female coaches, the present study examines women’s role as coach developers. English football served as the context for the research. Figures demonstrate women are underrepresented in this role more so than they are as coaches, and their distribution across the coach developer pathway is unevenly balanced, with most women qualified at Level I of the pathway. Using the concept of ‘organizational fit’, the research connects the experiences of the 10 coach developers interviewed, to the structural practices of their national and local governing bodies. These practices were symptomatic of the organizations’ culture that is created and upheld by masculine ideals. Work expectations and the environment were structured on the image of men as coaches and coach developers. Cultural barriers to women’s sense of organizational fit were specifically found to be: the incentive to progress (return on investment from higher coaching qualifications), the degree of organizational support and nurture, and the opportunity to progress and practice. Consequently, organizational expectations and values do not support the ambitions of women to climb the coach developer career ladder, and restrict their sense of choice and control. Future research should direct its attention towards a greater interrogation of aspects of sport organizational culture that may serve to ‘push’ female coaches away from its core, or alternatively, pull them closer to engage and make use of their expertise and abilities as coach developers.

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Can Pregnancy be an Ergogenic Aid to Athletic Performance?: A Review

James M. Pivarnik, Christopher P. Connolly, Mallory R. Marshall, and Rebecca A. Schlaff

Previous research clearly indicates that exercise training decreases during pregnancy, even among the fittest of women. Despite this, women are typically able to resume their prepregnancy exercise routines soon after delivery, and in some instances, their postpartum performances are better than previously experienced. While anecdotal reports are common, there does not appear to be significant research data to explain this phenomenon. In this review, we explore possible physiologic explanations for heightened postpartum exercise performance, such as pregnancy related changes in aerobic fitness, lactate threshold, flexibility, and musculoskeletal fitness. At this time, limited data do not appear to support an ergogenic role for these variables. Another consideration is a positive change in a woman’s psyche or perceptions toward her athletic abilities as a result of her pregnancy and delivery. While this concept is theoretically possible and may have scientific merit, data are sparse. What is clear is that an increasing number of women are maintaining their physical activity and exercise routines during pregnancy, with many able to return to competition soon after delivery. Well-designed studies are needed to further explore the relationships among physiologic and psychological variables and postpartum exercise performance. Ideally, these studies should be prospective (studying women prepregnancy through the postpartum period) and include diverse samples of women with regard to activity type and fitness level.

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Dancing Like a Girl: Physical Competence and Emotional Vulnerability in Professional Contemporary Dance

Aimie C.E. Purser

The analysis presented here is based on a phenomenological interview study conducted with sixteen professional contemporary dancers, and focuses on the differences between the accounts of male and female dancers with regard to notions of openness in dance and to associated feelings of emotional vulnerability and metaphorical nakedness or exposure. In a way that is reminiscent of Young’s (1980) description of “throwing like a girl,” such feelings of vulnerability and accompanying self-consciousness were considerably more noticeable in the accounts of the female dancers, tending to emerge when dancers were asked to express something of a personal or private nature through dance in the presence of others. This paper explores potential resonances between feminine throwing experience as conceptualized by Young (1980) and female dancing experience for my interviewees. Significantly, however, it moves beyond a direct parallel with Young’s (1980) work to explore this sense of vulnerability in a context where female dancers did not display the reduced physical competencies typical of “throwing like a girl.” The article further suggests that the dualist concepts of transcendence and immanence may not be appropriate for understanding the experience of dance, including its gendered dimensions, and that we should instead look to theorizing dancing body-subjectivity in ways that attend to the blurring of the boundaries of such binaries.

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Exploring Empowerment for Sexual Assault Victims in Women’s Only Group Fitness

Amy N. Cole and Sarah Ullrich-French

Empowerment is a complex, multidimensional construct that has been criticized for its overuse and definitional dilution; however, the value and importance of empowering marginalized groups such as women and victims of sexual assault remains salient. The present study explores how participation in a women’s only fitness class can empower women who are victims of sexual violence. Using cross-sectional data from a larger evaluation project of Pink Gloves Boxing (PGB), several constructs (e.g., self-efficacy for exercise, empowerment in exercise, and perceptions of autonomy support) were measured to capture empowerment as operationalized in Cattaneo and Chapman’s (2010) and Cattaneo and Goodman’s (2015) Empowerment Process Model. Multiple Indicator, Multiple Cause structural equation modeling was used to examine differences in empowerment outcomes among women in a convenience sample (N = 149) of women in PGB and traditional fitness classes. Comparisons were made based on their sexual victimization experience and their participation in either PGB or traditional group fitness classes. Results revealed that women in PGB who had been victimized were more empowered than victims (γ = -0.38, p < .01) and nonvictims (γ = -0.24, p < .05) in traditional fitness classes. There were no significant differences among women in PGB, regardless of victimization. Implications for the empowering benefits of women’s only physical activity participation for victims of sexual assault are discussed.

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A Qualitative Examination of Adolescent Girls’ Sport Participation in a Low-Income, Urban Environment

E. Missy Wright, Katie R. Griffes, and Daniel R. Gould

Even though African American girls and/or girls in low-income, urban environments are specifically challenged with their sport involvement, little research has focused specifically on this population’s experience with sport. The purpose of this study was to examine various factors related to sport participation for adolescent girls (predominantly African American) living in a low-income urban environment. The study examined the barriers that might impede their sport involvement, the benefits they perceive, and the reasons why they do or do not participate. Four focus groups were conducted in Detroit, Michigan (a large urban Midwestern city). Participants were grouped by age, as well as sport participation status (current sort participants and girls who have not participated in organized sport for at least one year). Each group consisted of 4 girls. Results revealed various reasons why the participants engaged in sport, including that sport occupies their time and that it is fun, while reasons like lack of opportunities and the negative role of others were some of the reasons provided for not participating in sport. These girls face numerous barriers to sport participation, such as logistical, financial, and cosmetic. Positive psychosocial development and scholarships were noted as benefits to participation. Directions for future research and programmatic level applications are described in light of these findings.

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Relationship Among Gender, Athletic Involvement, Student Organization Involvement and Leadership

Jennifer Y. Mak and Chong Kim

Leadership development is important for society, and participating in athletics and student organizations has provided opportunities for young adults to develop and display leadership qualities (Dobosz & Beaty, 1999; Knoppers, 2011; Todd & Kent, 2004; Williams, Roberts, & Bosselman, 2011). The empirical research examining the leadership development through athletics and student organizations involvement has, unfortunately, been limited. Thus, the purpose of this study was to identify and investigate the relationship among gender, athletic involvement, and student organization involvement in relation to transformational leadership skills. Stratified random sampling and the Salant and Dillman (1994) survey methodology procedure were adopted for data collection. Data were collected from 992 college students (493 females and 495 males) in a Mid-Atlantic university. The Transformational Leadership Scale (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2004) was used as the instrument to measure the variables. Descriptive statistics and factorial ANOVA were used for data analysis. Results showed significant differences existed among gender, athletic involvement, and student organization involvement in relation to transformational leadership skills. Females, athletes, and student officers received significantly higher scores than males, nonathletes and nonstudent officers in transformational leadership.

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Women’s Exercise Experiences in Women-Only Gyms in Turkey: An Examination Within the Framework of Self-Determination Theory

Pinar Öztürk and Canan Koca

Although a growing body of evidence emphasizes the benefits of physical activity and exercise participation, diverse cultural, social and religious factors prevent girls and women from participating in physical activity and exercise. Recently, women-only gyms have become an important factor in promoting women’s participation in exercise in nonwestern countries, such as Turkey. This study examines the factors that affect the experiences of women who participate in exercise in a women-only gym, in Turkey, by applying self-determination theory (SDT) with a gender perspective. Data were collected through in-depth semistructured interviews with seventeen women and three women instructors and analyzed with thematic analysis. Identified themes are a) regulation of daily life: time of one’s own, b) structured exercise, and c) comfort of being in women-only environments. Findings show that women-only gym satisfies the three basic needs identified by SDT, and reproduce the relationship between exercise and femininity for women. This means that satisfaction of three needs, autonomy, competence, and relatedness, involves gendered meanings for women who exercise in women-only gyms.

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Breaking Down the Myth and Curse of Women Athletes: Enough is Enough, Period

Charlene Weaving

From a theoretical perspective, I analyze the claim that women’s athletic performances are negatively affected by their menstrual cycles. To demonstrate the perpetuation of the belief that menstruation is a mythical debilitating bodily function for women and sport participation, an overview of Elizabeth Spelman, Simone De Beauvoir, and Iris Marion Young’s philosophical framing of somatophobia and menstruation is outlined. Analysis of specific examples of elite female athletes who have addressed menstruation in connection to their sporting performance are also discussed to emphasize how menstruation is linked to the frailty myth. I offer an analysis of the scientific literature on hormonal swings of the menstrual cycle and, the effects on sport performance to show that research is equivocal. Finally, a brief examination of feminine hygiene marking campaigns takes place to further emphasize the argument how the frailty myth is closely linked to women athletes and menstruation and how change can be created.