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Susan S. Levy

Using a qualitative design, the purpose of this study was to investigate the personal meaning of competition to the female mountain bike racer. Interviews were conducted with nine female mountain bike racers of varying levels of experience, and were designed to elicit information relevant to the athlete’s understanding of her experience of competition, as well as, the personal meaning she attached to that experience. The codification of participant responses resulted in the identification of eight main themes including self-fulfillment, perceived competence, social support and camaraderie, health and fitness, joy of the experience, focus and self-control, external benefits derived from racing, and goal-direction. The findings of the study were, in general, supportive of the components of meaning posited by Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Practical implications from this study include developing strategies for increasing the meaningfulness of the competitive experience for females in order to promote participation in physical activity.

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Vicki Ebbeck, Patti Lou Watkins, and Susan S. Levy

This study examined possible determinants of some of the health behaviors of larger women. Specifically, it was of interest to discern if affect (depression, social physique anxiety) mediated the relationship between self-conceptions (global self-worth, perceived physical appearance) and behavior (disordered eating, physical activity). The investigation was grounded in the model of self-worth forwarded by Harter (1987). A total of 71 overweight or obese women agreed to participate in the study. Data collection involved a researcher meeting individually with each of the participants to record physical assessments as well as responses to a packet of self-report questionnaires. A series of canonical correlation analyses were then conducted to test each of the three conditions for mediation effects outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). Results suggested that indeed the set of self-conceptions indirectly influenced the set of behaviors via the set of affect variables. Surprisingly, however, involvement in physical activity failed to contribute to the multivariate relationships. The findings further our understanding of how self-conceptions are related to behavior and highlight the value of examining multiple health behaviors in parallel.