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Merrill J. Melnick and Donald F. Sabo

An analysis of the 434 free communications by the 575 presenters at the first seven annual meetings of NASSS (1980–1986) reveals several important patterns and trends with respect to (a) number of free communications, (b) number of presenters, (c) presenter’s sex, (d) presenter’s institutional affiliation, and (e) dual and multiple authorships. A classification of the free communications by subject matter reveals which research topics are of current interest to sport sociologists. Implications of these data for understanding the current stage of development of the subfield are discussed in relation to Mullins’ four-stage developmental model for scientific specialties.

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Merrill J. Melnick, Beth E. Vanfossen and Donald F. Sabo

This study examined the impact of athletic participation on the academic, social, and social–psychological development of high school girls. A panel design and multistage sampling were used to assess the effect of athletic participation on perceived popularity, sex-role attitudes, psychological well-being, sociability, delinquency, academic achievement, educational aspiration, and extracurricular involvement. Data were obtained from transcript records and survey questionnaires administered during the subjects’ sophomore (1980) and senior (1982) years. Multiple regression analysis revealed that athletic participation was strongly related to extracurricular involvement, modestly related to perceived popularity, but only slightly related to delinquency and educational aspiration. Athletic participation was not related to psychological well-being or sex-role attitudes.

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Kathleen E. Miller, Michael P. Farrell, Donald F. Sabo, Grace M. Barnes and Merrill J. Melnick

In this paper, we examine the relationships among athletic participation and sexual behavior, contraceptive use, and pregnancy in female and male high school students. Analyses of covariance and multiple analyses of covariance were performed on a nationally representative sample of 8,979 high school students (the 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). After controlling for race and ethnicity, age, and mother’s education, girls who participated in sports had lower rates of sexual experience, fewer sex partners, later age of first intercourse, higher rates of contraceptive use, and lower rates of past pregnancy than girls who did not participate. Male high school athletes reported higher rates of sexual experience and more partners than nonathletes, but—like their female counterparts—were also more likely to have used birth control during their most recent intercourse. Cultural resource theory suggests that athletic participation may reduce girls’ adherence to conventional cultural scripts while providing them with additional social and personal resources on which to draw in the sexual bargaining process. Sports provides boys with similar resources while strengthening their commitment to traditional masculine scripts.