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Alexander J. Bedard, Kevin A. Bigelman, Lynn R. Fielitz, Jeffrey D. Coelho, William B. Kobbe, Renard O. Barone, Nicholas H. Gist and John E. Palmer

Collegiate combative physical education classes, such as boxing, grappling, wrestling, and martial arts, offer many positive benefits to students and institutions. There has been an increased interest in combative sports in recent years. As a result of media focus on high-profile female athletes in combative sports, combative physical education classes have become increasingly popular with women. Physical education programs stand to greatly benefit from gender integration of combative classes. Educators and administrators, however, need to consider a number of social, psychological, physiological, and medical factors in order to ensure successful gender integration. Approaching gender integration with a careful and deliberate process that involves physical educators, administrators, and medical personnel will ensure programs maintain an authentic yet safe environment contributing to the attainment of course objectives. When executed in a prudent and deliberate manner, gender integration of combative course offerings has been anecdotally observed to improve women’s self-confidence, sense of inclusion, teamwork, and to enhance cohesion among students of both genders.

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Mallory Mann and Vikki Krane

While recent studies paint an optimistic picture of acceptance and inclusion of queer athletes, it would be naive to assume homonegativism no longer exists. In this study, we interviewed 13 queer female athletes to understand their college team sport climates and how heteronormativity is reinforced and confronted in women’s college sport. Using a feminist cultural studies approach, two types of team climates emerged from the data: inclusive climates and transitioning climates. On inclusive teams, queer and heterosexual members overtly communicated their norm of inclusion to new teammates, normalized diverse sexualities, and consistently engaged in inclusive behaviors. Transitioning teams were described as neither inclusive nor hostile initially, and, while they did not have a history of inclusion, they transitioned to becoming more outwardly accepting of diverse sexual identities. On transitioning teams, queer athletes surveyed the landscape before sharing their sexual orientation, after which the team evolved to become inclusive. All the athletes talked about awkward moments, occasional incidents of nonsupport, and the benefits of inclusion. These findings reveal emerging cracks in hegemonic heteronormativity in women’s sport, especially among athletes.

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Buffie Longmire-Avital, Takudzwa Madzima and Elyse Bierut

Previous research has documented the comprehensive health benefits of regular physical activity. However, just over a third of Black women report meeting the suggested amount of physical activity per week. Research also indicates that collegiate emerging adults often reduce their physical activity as well. Given that Black collegiate women represent the intersection of two groups that report a reduction in physical activity, the primary purpose of this descriptive study was to examine whether or not the rate of engagement in high-calorie-burning (HCB) activity by collegiate females differed by race. A secondary purpose was to explore how the chronic stress of racism for Black women was related to their HCB activity. Three hundred and eighty-three collegiate females between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 19.67, SD = 1.45) participated; (61.1% [n = 234] self-identified as White, while the remaining 38.9% [n = 149] self-identified as Black). All eligible participants took a 10–15 min anonymous online survey. Results from a chi-squared analysis (χ2 [1] = 8.40, p = .004) revealed that White collegiate women (70.3%) were more likely to report participation in weekly HCB activity than Black collegiate women (55.7%). Additional analyses also suggested that chronic experience with racism (F [1, 147] = 5.13, p = .03) was associated with more frequent HCB activity for the Black women sampled. Campus health promotion campaigns should not overlook how the experience of race may shape health behaviors for their racial minority students and sustain emerging health disparities.

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Christina A. Geithner, Claire E. Molenaar, Tommy Henriksson, Anncristine Fjellman-Wiklund and Kajsa Gilenstam

Research on relative age effects (RAEs) in women’s ice hockey is lacking data on participant characteristics, particularly body size and maturity status. The purposes of our study were to investigate RAEs in women’s ice hockey players from two countries, and to determine whether RAE patterns could be explained by chronological age, body size, and maturity status. Participants were 54 Swedish elite and 63 Canadian university players. Birthdates were coded by quartiles (Q1–Q4). Weight and height were obtained, and body mass index and chronological age were calculated for each player. Players recalled age at menarche, and maturity status was classified as early, average, or late relative to population-specific means. Chi-square (χ2), odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI) and effect sizes (Cohen’s w) were calculated using population data across quartiles and for pairwise comparisons between quartiles. Descriptive statistics and MANOVAs were run by quartile and by country. Significant RAEs were found for Canadian players across quartiles (p < .05), along with a Q2 phenomenon (Q2: Q3, Q2: Q4, p < .05). Swedish players were overrepresented in Q3 (Q3: Q4, p < .05). Q4 was significantly underrepresented in both countries (p < .05). The oldest, earliest maturing, and shortest players in both countries were clustered in Q2, whereas the next oldest and latest maturing Swedish players were found in Q3. Age, physical factors, and interactions may contribute to overrepresentations in Q2 and Q3. These findings do not suggest the same bias for greater relative age and maturity found in male ice hockey.

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Shara Crookston

According to USA Archery, the National Governing Body for the Olympic and Paralympic sport of archery, since December of 2011, the number of archery clubs has nearly doubled and individual membership is up 25%. Owners of archery ranges across the United States are experiencing long waiting lists of adolescents who are interested in learning the sport, and many owners contribute this surge in popularity to The Hunger Games (2008–2010) franchise, a dystopian series featuring Katniss Everdeen, a bow and arrow wielding teenage girl who becomes a reluctant revolutionary instrumental in destroying a totalitarian government. The link between the series and the recent surge in archery is explored here. In this feminist, qualitative study, nine girls (n = 9) between the ages of 11 and 14 were interviewed about their experience participating in at least one 6-week after-school archery program. The results of this study suggest that The Hunger Games series influenced the girls, both directly and indirectly, to participate in the archery program. Additionally, this study found that archery is a sport where both active and less active girls feel they can compete with boys on a level playing field. Lastly, the participants did not report experiencing sexism or bullying as a result of their archery participation. The author provides applications and recommendations for further research.

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Daniel Maderer, Petros Parganas and Christos Anagnostopoulos

Social-media platforms have become an important tool for sport marketers to communicate their brand image and engage with fans. This study analyzed 1,115 Facebook posts and 16,308 tweets from 10 of the most valuable European professional football clubs to identify the range of brand associations communicated and the level of online fan engagement. Statistical analysis captured correlations between and among selected brand attributes, time periods of posts (in and off-season), and levels of fan engagement. On both Facebook and Twitter, football clubs posted more frequently during the season, while content associated with product-related attributes was the focus of such communication. Product-related content was found to generate higher levels of online fan engagement. The study extends the literature on sport teams’ brand management through social media and offers practical recommendations on how to enhance fan identification and engagement and ultimately make financial and reputational gains.

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Rebecca M. Achen, John Kaczorowski, Trisha Horsmann and Alanda Ketzler

Research on social-media use in sport should be expanded to include analyses of content popularity and comparisons across leagues. This study used content analysis and a multivariate multilevel model to compare content type and interaction across U.S. professional sport leagues. Results indicated that teams in the National Football League had the most comments, teams in the Major League Baseball had the most shares, and teams in the National Basketball Association had the most likes. Content coded as player and personnel promotion, which included behind-the-scenes content and human-interest stories, received the most interaction. Sport marketers can use this information to drive content strategy. However, content designed to encourage interaction is still posted less often than most other types of content. These results suggest that marketers in sport may be using Facebook to build relationships by connecting fans personally with players, but not by encouraging interaction or 2-way conversation.

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Yonghwan Chang

Through this study, the author aimed to elucidate the asymmetrical patterns of dual attitude changes in the context of athlete endorsement. The main experiment included a test of the interactions of: Fit (low vs. high fit) × Evaluative conditioning (endorsement–positive vs. endorsement–negative feelings) × Introspection focus (logics vs. feelings). Based on the results, fit changed explicit attitudes, leaving implicit attitudes unchanged, whereas evaluative conditioning changed implicit attitudes to a greater extent. Introspection focus on logics (feelings) led participants to operate syllogistic inferences (associative evaluations); consequently, the logicality of fit (the conditioned feelings) determined both explicit and implicit attitudes and behavioral intentions. The study helps broaden current understandings of endorsement effectiveness by identifying situations in which dual attitude shifts intentions. Managers should be aware of the manipulability of consumers’ evaluation systems, and it is recommended to strategically employ either logic-reflected or feelings-elicited endorsement campaigns to leverage a brand’s equity.

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T. Bettina Cornwell, Steffen Jahn, Hu Xie and Wang Suk Suh

Sports, the arts, and events are products in their own right, and when sponsored, they become marketing and communication platforms. The current research examines the role of event emotions on sponsor recall and intent to attend the event in the future. An important theoretical argument is that feeling to be part of an in-group, measured as in-group entitativity, moderates the relationship between emotions and outcomes of memory and intentions. To test our theoretical model, we surveyed attendees at a multiday international track and field event. A total of 282 individuals were surveyed, and 232 of these attendees qualified as audience members and were included in the analysis. Moderated regression analyses revealed that excitement, joy, boredom, and overall tone of the group atmosphere impact event outcomes for the sport and the sponsor, and furthermore, that in-group entitativity can function as an important moderator. Contributions to theory and practice are discussed.

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Mathew Dowling, Becca Leopkey and Lee Smith

This article examines the current state of sport governance research within the field of sport management. In adopting Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, a scoping review was conducted involving a comprehensive search of all published literature between 1980 and 2016. The process involved searching four electronic databases and a manual search of sport management journals. The search identified (N = 243) journal articles that examined sport governance–related issues. Findings are presented as a frequency and thematic analysis. The frequency analysis reveals a notable increase in sport governance research in recent years with a large number of nonempirical studies focused on the not-for-profit sector. The thematic analysis draws upon and extends Henry and Lee’s three notions of governance and identifies sport governance–related topics, research contexts, and social issues. Findings indicate that all three forms of governance (organizational, systemic, and political) have contributed to our understanding of sport governance, but more empirical and theoretically driven research is needed.