Future-oriented self-perceptions, or possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986), represent how individuals think about their potential and their future. To explore the cognitive processes involved in the decision to exercise, the possible selves of 203 middle-aged women from a university community, representing a range of exercise behaviors, were examined. Comparisons were made of possible selves identified by participants across levels of exercise behavior, and the ability of possible selves to discriminate exercisers from nonexercisers was examined. Group differences were most evident in possible selves related to body image, with hoped-for and feared selves more likely to be described by inactive individuals than by their more active counterparts. The self-regulatory mechanisms of self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and importance discriminated nonexercisers from exercisers, particularly long-term exercisers. Findings support the conclusion that possible selves related to exercise is a useful construct for examining the process of behavioral change and for planning future exercise interventions.
Diane E. Whaley
Feminist methodologies are as varied as the individuals who conduct research using a feminist perspective. This article highlights some of the issues pertinent to feminist analyses in sport and exercise psychology. The underlying frameworks feminists employ (methodologies and epistemologies), as well as methodological questions important to feminist researchers, are discussed. Specific epistemologies evident in psychology and sport psychology are reviewed, and underused methods applicable to the sport and exercise context are offered as alternatives to existing methods. Finally, complexities and current tensions evident in feminist methodologies are discussed, and the particular issue of employing quantitative methods from a feminist perspective is debated. Particular attention is paid throughout the article to issues not only of gender but of age, ethnicity, race, and other differences.
Diane E. Whaley
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.
Vikki Krane and Diane E. Whaley
To read the written history of U.S. sport and exercise psychology, one easily could assume that women were absent from the field. Yet, indisputably women have assumed influential leadership roles through their research, leadership in professional organizations, editing major journals, and mentoring graduate students and novice professionals. Based on life history interviews, grounded in standpoint and feminist cultural studies perspectives, we present the collective contributions of 8 women who greatly affected the development of the field of sport and exercise psychology in the U.S. Although traveling different paths and having varied strengths and weaknesses, certain attributes distinguished their journeys; most notably, they were driven, selfless, dignified, humble, competent, and passionate about developing the field. Their legacy includes generations of students who have carved their own careers in sport and exercise psychology; lines of research that have established the field as rigorous, theory-based, practical, and relevant; and caring and competent leadership in our professional organizations.
Moira E. Stuart and Diane E. Whaley
Achievement choices emanate from a variety of individual and contextual factors, including the influence of significant others and gender-role socialization. An understanding of these factors is important for promoting participation in sport, particularly for women engaged in masculine-typed sports. Five members of the USA women’s wrestling team were interviewed regarding the personal and contextual variables that influenced their choice to wrestle. Questions focused on the athletes’ expectations of success and value for wrestling, their identity as a wrestler, the role of significant others, and the cultural context of wrestling for women. Results revealed that each woman had a strong wrestling identity, had high perceptions of ability, and placed high value on achieving in wrestling. Parents and coaches were the main providers of wrestling opportunities; however, negative interpretations of their involvement from a variety of significant others outnumbered positive influences. While the individual factors confirm sources that would lead a person to select and persist at an achievement task, societal messages did not support these choices. Discussion centers on issues of resistance, persistence, and applied messages.
Corey D. Bray and Diane E. Whaley
Previous research has demonstrated the relationship between high cohesion and optimal team performance. This study investigated the cohesion-individual performance relationship and examined expended effort as a mediator of that relationship. At the middle and end of the regular season, 41 male and 49 female varsity high school basketball players representing eight teams completed measures of group cohesion and perceived expended effort. At the same time intervals, the players’ game statistics were gathered, and coaches completed the expended effort questions regarding their players. Results partially supported the predictive ability of cohesion on objective individual performance and expended effort was a mediator of the cohesion-individual performance relationship at the end of the season. Results are discussed regarding theoretical and measurement issues. Practical implications for coaches and consultants are also provided.