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The Effect of a Token Economy on the Exercise Behavior of Individuals with Down Syndrome

Freddie Bennett, Pat Eisenman, Ron French, Hester Henderson, and Barry Shultz

A single-subject multiple baseline design across subjects was used to discern the effect of a token economy on the exercise behavior and cardiorespiratory fitness of individuals with Down syndrome. The subjects were three females ranging in age from 24 to 26 years, with estimated IQs between 32 and 56. The exercise behavior consisted of pedaling a cycle ergometer for 15 min each weekday at 50-60% of peak VO2 for 6 to 8 weeks. Subjects voluntarily pedaled the cycle ergometer during the baseline phase, and after stabilization entered the intervention phase at 5-day intervals. During the intervention phase, tokens that could be exchanged for preferred items were dispensed for a predetermined number of revolutions. Based on the data and calculations using the split-middle technique, it was concluded that a token economy can be used to increase exercise behavior. Resting heart rates decreased 12.2%, and submaximal exercise heart rates, averaged over three work stages, decreased 18.8% over the course of the study. The small sample size, variable subject response, and a malfunctioning gas analyzer call for caution in inferring any possible cardiorespiratory fitness training effect.

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Coaching Behaviors as Sources of Relation-Inferred Self-Efficacy (RISE) in American Male High School Athletes

Brock McMullen, Hester L. Henderson, Donna Harp Ziegenfuss, and Maria Newton

Perceptions of relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE) are developed from the interpretation of another’s verbal and nonverbal behaviors and have been shown to impact self-efficacy, which, in sport, can influence areas such as an individual’s choice to participate and level of enjoyment. This qualitative study identified specific coaching behaviors that high school male athletes use to inform their RISE beliefs. Forty-three high school male student-athletes participated in focus group interviews regarding their high school sport experiences, specifically related to how they perceive various coaching behaviors. Analysis revealed seven major themes: general encouragement, efficacy building statements, instruction, task-oriented statements, challenging opportunities, focused interpersonal attention, and expressiveness. A unique aspect compared to similar studies was the emergence of subthemes related to coaches caring about academic performance or providing opportunities to be a starter or leader on the team. Findings provided support for the tripartite model of efficacy beliefs in that high school athletes were aware and perceptive of different coaching behaviors they personally experienced. There was also a strong desire conveyed by the student-athletes for a personal relationship with their coaches outside of the athletic setting, indicating that coaches should do their best to communicate individually to each athlete.

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An Investigation of Body Image in Athletes With Physical Disabilities

Nick Galli, Justine J. Reel, Hester Henderson, and Nicole Detling

The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to explore the body image of athletes with physical disabilities, and (b) to understand how sport influences body image among these athletes. We interviewed 20 male and female athletes (M age = 34.25, SD = 8.49) from a variety of sports regarding their body image and the role of sport in influencing body image. A thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to generate six themes: (a) personal significance of injury and disability, (b) noncentrality of the body and disability, (c) positive influence of sport on body esteem, (d) social factors influencing body-related emotions and perceptions, (e) body critiques and preferences, and (f) positive thoughts and emotions about the body. Sport seemed to be an important vehicle for experiencing body-related pride, and athletes expressed an intimate connection with the body parts that enabled them to physically compete.