This study examined the sources of information used by adult exercisers to judge performance. Of particular interest was the investigation of gender differences. Subjects, 271 adults (174 males, 97 females) who were enrolled in a university weight training program, completed a questionnaire designed to evaluate the importance of 12 information sources in judging weight training performance: instructor feedback, student feedback, student comparison, changes noticed outside the gym, personal attraction toward the activity, degree of perceived effort exerted in the workout, performance in workout, feedback from others not in the class, goal setting, muscle development, workout improvement over time, and ease in learning new skills. Results revealed a significant discriminant function analysis for gender, with six information sources entering the stepwise procedure: goal setting, student feedback, learning, effort, improvement, and changes noticed outside the gym differentiated the gender groups. Males relied more than females on student feedback as an information source to judge performance. Alternatively, females used effort, goal setting, improvement, and learning as information sources more than males.
Diane E. Whaley and Vicki Ebbeck
This study used a qualitative, feminist perspective to examine issues pertaining to exercise constraints among older adults. Participants were 8 male and 9 female older adults (mean age = 76.7) who chose not to engage in structured exercise classes. Twenty-six self-identified constraints were elicited (mean = four per person). Additionally, four constraints per person from previous research were selected. The most frequently cited self-reported constraints were “get enough exercise elsewhere,” health-related items, and issues related to time. From the constraints most frequently cited in past studies, inconvenience, time, and type of activity were selected most often. Gender differences were apparent in the constraints chosen as well as reasons why a particular constraint inhibited or prohibited activity. Specific suggestions for strategies included having programs with a purpose, building in flexibility, and encouraging men to participate. The influence of gender is explored, especially how expanding our understanding of gender issues might improve program planning.
Diane E. Whaley and Vicki Ebbeck
One's sense of self over time, or identity, is an important component of well-being. Schemata formed from components of identity, such as an exerciser schema, have been associated with behaviors that promote physical activity. This study explored the process of exercise-identity formation in active older adults, questioned whether or not the term exerciser was a meaningful descriptor for their behavior, and examined whether self-views were mediated by perceptions of aging. Thirteen older adults (66–90 years) were interviewed. Results supported the contention that identity formation is a purposeful activity. Participants were more likely to ascribe alternative labels to their exercise behavior, and what it meant to be “old” mediated their perceptions of exercise. Results are discussed with regard to implications for interventions.
Rebecca Y. Concepcion and Vicki Ebbeck
The purpose of this study was to examine the physical activity experiences of survivors of domestic violence in relation to how they view themselves and their circumstances. The participants were 7 women who had been in abusive relationships. They were given access to an exercise facility and participated in 1 to 4 interviews regarding abuse history, physical activity levels, self-view, and emotional status. Qualitative analysis revealed that physical activity gave women a sense of accomplishment and improved their mental and emotional status, gave them hope and healing, a sense of being “normal,” of working toward a future self, and freedom. These findings support the consideration of physical activity participation for survivors of domestic abuse.
Vicki Ebbeck and Keegan E. Fitzgerald
The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of enacting the Way of the Bodhisattva (Chödrön, 2005) lessons in compassion with larger women, particularly in reference to their physical activity behaviors. Three women provided ongoing and detailed information with regard to their experiences engaging with the lessons over a 6-week period. Individual weekly interviews, journal entries, a focus group discussion with all women following the program, and researcher field notes in combination offered triangulated information that was analyzed by two researchers. The findings suggested that the women benefited from the program, although assuming the role of a bodhisattva did prove to be challenging in the time available and perhaps was most beneficial in facilitating the process of self-reflection.
Vicki Ebbeck and Maureen R. Weiss
Two issues regarding the arousal-performance relationship in sport were addressed in this study: the relationship between task complexity, optimal arousal, and maximal performance, and the appropriateness of using various measures of performance. Data were collected from high school athletes (n=51) across four track and field meets. State anxiety was obtained prior to each performance and three performance measures were obtained (event results, and quality of performance evaluated by the athlete and by the coach). Results indicated that the three performance measures were not equally related to A-state, suggesting that the relationship between arousal and performance results in a different description depending upon the performance measure that is used. Furthermore, degree of task complexity could not be distinguished across various track and field events. When individual events were used to examine the arousal-performance/task complexity relationship, results revealed that level of A-state needed for maximal performance could not be differentiated for specific events, nor could it be determined for above average, average, or below average performances on any one event.
Maureen R. Weiss, Vicki Ebbeck and Thelma S. Horn
This study explored relationships among children’s age, individual differences, and sources of physical competence information. Children (N = 183) completed measures of competitive trait anxiety (CTA), perceived physical competence (PC), general self-esteem (SE), and sources of competence information in the sport domain. A cluster analysis revealed four distinct profiles of children. In Cluster 1, children were younger, scored relatively higher in CTA and lower in PC, and indicated strongest preference for pregame anxiety as a source of information. Cluster 2 was characterized by children with lower PC and SE scores who placed lower importance on parental evaluation and pre game anxiety sources. In Cluster 3, children scored higher on PC and SE, moderately lower on CTA, and preferred self-referenced and parental evaluation criteria. In Cluster 4, children were older, higher in CTA, lower in PC and SE, and indicated strongest preference for social comparison/evaluation criteria. The criteria children use to evaluate their physical competence are strongly associated with age and psychological characteristics.
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.
Maureen R. Weiss, Heather Barber, Vicki Ebbeck and Beeky L. Sisley
This study examined perceptions of ability and affective experiences of female coaches (N=28) following a hands-on coaching internship. Coaches were interviewed regarding the internship's positive and negative aspects and their perceived strengths and weaknesses. Using qualitative research methods, quotes were drawn from the interview transcripts and submitted to an inductive content analysis. Major themes characterizing the positive aspects of the internship were satisfaction of working with kids, development of coaching skills, social support, and fun; themes related to negative aspects of the experience were negative interactions with mentor coach, excessive time demands, low perceptions of competence, negative relationships with athletes, lack of administrative support, and overemphasis on winning. Perceived coaching strengths included major themes of interpersonal communication, motivation, teaching skills, knowledge of the game, discipline, and balance of work and fun. Weaknesses were identified as inadequate sport-related knowledge and skills, leadership skills, planning and management skills, physical skills, and injury-prevention and maintenance skills. Implications of these findings for recruiting, educating, and retaining coaches are made.
Maureen R. Weiss, Vicki Ebbeck, Edward McAuley and Diane M. Wiese
This study explored the relationship between children's self-esteem and attributions for performance in both physical and social achievement domains. Children's physical and social self-esteem as well as perceptions of and attributions for performance and interpersonal success in a summer sports program were assessed. Multivariate analyses revealed a significant relationship between self-esteem and causal attributions for both physical and social domains. For physical competence, children high in self-esteem made attributions that were more internal, stable, and higher in personal control than did low self-esteem children. For social competence, children high in self-esteem made attributions that were more internal, stable, and higher in personal and lower in external control than did children low in self-esteem. These results provided support for a self-consistency approach to self-esteem.