It has been reported that participation in high school athletics has a positive effect on education, occupational status attainment, and earnings. (Otto and Alwin, 1977; Howell and Picou, 1983). The findings regarding the economical benefits of sport participation have emerged from two regional panel studies and need to be examined for generalizability beyond local labor markets. We test this hypothesis using the five-wave Youth in Transition panel based on a national sample of 1,628 males. The respondents were surveyed repeatedly during their high school years (1966-69). They were followed-up 1 year posthigh school (1970) and again 5 years (1974) after graduation. Our results do not support the hypothesis. However, we suggest that the lack of supportive findings may be explained by the stage in the life cycle at which the follow-up was completed. That is, any economical payoff owing to participation in high school athletics is not an immediate return but may begin to accrue 10 or more years after graduation when career lines have begun to unfold. Another possibility is that the effect of high school sports participation on earnings may only occur for those also subsequently attending college. The implications of specific explanations of sport participation outcomes for the life course interpretation are discussed.
Frank M. Howell, Andrew W. Miracle, and C. Roger Rees
C. Roger Rees, Wolf-Deitrich Brettschneider, and Hans Peter Brandl-Bredenbeck
While economic-oriented theories identify a “homogenized” or “Americanized,” unidirectional model of global sport, figurational theories conceptualize globalization as much more complicated, multifaceted, and interactional. However, the spread of “achievement” sport is seen as central in both approaches. This paper investigates the degree to which “achievement” criteria characterize the sporting behavior and sporting perceptions of adolescents in Berlin and suburban New York. We find evidence that adolescents from both samples accept competition and training as important components of their sport concepts, and examples of some of these components associated with gender differences transcending national boundaries. We also identify differences in the sport concepts of Berlin and suburban New York youth, both in the types of sports they play and in the meaning they attach to these activities. These differences lead us to question the ubiquity of “achievement” sport as a component of globalization, and hence, the efficacy of theories stressing “homogenization” and unidirectionality.
C. Roger Rees, Frederick F. Andres, and Frank M. Howell
This study tests the degree to which previous sport involvement (PSI) and attitudes toward PSI (APSI) influence present attitudes toward running (ARUN) and commitment to and skill in running. A questionnaire measuring these variables was mailed to a random sample of 210 participants drawn from a local 5-mile race; it was returned by 103 males (60%) and 38 females (90%). Commitment was operationalized as respondents’ training mileage per week, skill as their best race time divided by their best race distance, and PSI as their involvement in sport at the high school and/or college level. Attitudes toward PSI and running were assessed by a modification of the Kenyon ATPA Inventory. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis showed a victory component (PVICT, RVICT) and a fitness component (PFIT, RFIT) for each scale. The results showed that RVICT scores explained a significant amount of the variation in commitment to and skill in running. Noticeably absent was the effect of PSI upon skill and commitment, either directly or indirectly through attitudes toward running.