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Kaleidoscope and Prism: The Study of Social Change in Play, Sport, and Leisure

Maria T. Allison

This paper explores the process of social change and problems that arise in the study of such change in play, sport, and leisure domains. After outlining major theoretical perspectives utilized to describe and explain the nature of change in society, the paper describes several myths, including myths of trauma, unidirectionality, deviance, and semantic illusion (Lauer, 1973), which have inhibited the study of change. Drawing from examples in play, sport, and leisure domains, the author suggests ways in which the study of change can be better integrated into our research consciousness.

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Cross-cultural Analysis in Exercise and Sport Psychology: A Void in the Field

Joan L. Duda and Maria T. Allison

The-role of race and ethnicity in explaining variability in human behavior has long been considered in the anthropological and sociological studies of play, games, and sport. This paper suggests ways in which the field of sport and exercise psychology might more systematically begin to incorporate factors of race and ethnicity into its research agendas. The paper is divided into four major sections. The first section provides evidence of a dearth of such research in the field of sport and exercise psychology. The second section presents an overview of current work that highlights ethnic/racial differences in motor performance, physical activity levels, and recreational sport participation. The third section explores the theoretical relevance of comparative research on ethnic/racial similarities and differences in psychological processes and behavior. Finally, potential research methodologies that might be used in psychological research in sport and exercise contexts are presented. Implications for both basic and applied work are offered.

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Career Problems and Retirement among Elite Athletes: The Female Tennis Professional

Maria T. Allison and Carrie Meyer

This investigation used qualitative techniques to identify and analyze the experiences of elite female tennis professionals and their perceptions of their competitive years and subsequent retirement from the sport. Through a system of networking and snowball sampling techniques (Babbie, 1986), 28 athletes who had played on the professional tennis circuit were contacted and asked to complete an extensive semistructured questionnaire; 20 completed questionnaires were returned. The questionnaire asked players to recount their earliest expectations and goals in competitive tennis, their experiences and perceptions during their most competitive years, and their reasons for and reactions to retirement from the tour. In general, results indicated that the athletes did not find disengagement from their competitive years traumatic, but rather found it as an opportunity to reestablish more traditional societal roles and lifestyles.