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Merrill J. Melnick

It is argued that the social forces of urbanization, individualism, interpersonal competition, technology, and geographical mobility have brought greater and greater numbers of strangers into people's everyday lives and have made the achievement of primary, social ties with relatives, friends, neighbors, and workmates more difficult. As a result, many are forced to satisfy their needs for sociability in less personal, less intimate, less private ways. It is proposed that sports spectating has emerged as a major urban structure where spectators come together not only to be entertained but to enrich their social psychological lives through the sociable, quasi-intimate relationships available. The changing nature of the sociability experience in America presents sport managers with interesting challenges and opportunities. A number of recommendations are offered for maximizing the gemeinschaft possibilities of sports spectating facilities. By giving greater attention to the individual and communal possibilities of their events, sport managers can increase spectator attendance while rendering an important public service.

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Merrill J. Melnick

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Merrill J. Melnick

In order to test Hallinan’s “Anglocentric Hypothesis,” New Zealand head coaches of female netball union teams completed two mailed questionnaires. The statistical analysis was based on 177 European (69.1%) and 79 Maori (30.9%) players. An overall chi-square for Race x Playing Position was nonsignificant, χ2(6) = 8.40. Specifically, Europeans were nonsignificantly overrepresented at center, the most central, highest interacting position. Occupancy of the most tactically important playing position, goal defense, also did not significantly vary by race. Lastly, goal shoot, the position judged by the coaches as being highest in outcome control, also did not favor either race. The results are discussed in terms of the historical record of Maori women’s participation in netball, majority–minority relations in New Zealand, and several methodological issues and concerns that attend “stacking” investigations.

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Merrill J. Melnick

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Merrill J. Melnick

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

This study examines the impact of race and gender differences on the social mobility of high school athletes using the longitudinal, panel data of the High School and Beyond study. Regressions of educational and occupational attainment measures on sports participation were estimated for subgroups differentiated by race/ethnic status, gender, and school location (urban, suburban, and rural). It was found that participation in high school sports was most likely to affect the postsecondary status attainment of white males and, to a lesser extent, suburban white females and rural Hispanic females. High school athletic participation had almost no effect on the college-going behavior or educational expectations of black males and females. Interscholastic athletic participation was generally unrelated to postsecondary occupational status and aspirations.

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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, Merrill J. Melnick, Grace M. Barnes, Michael P. Farrell and Don Sabo

Although previous research has established that high school sports participation might be associated with positive academic outcomes, the parameters of the relationship remain unclear. Using a longitudinal sample of nearly 600 western New York adolescents, this study examined gender- and race-specific differences on the impact of two dimensions of adolescent athletic involvement (“jock” identity and athlete status) on changes in school grades and school misconduct over a 2-year interval. Female and Black adolescents who identified themselves as jocks reported lower grades than did those who did not, whereas female athletes reported higher grades than female nonathletes. Jocks also reported significantly more misconduct (including skipping school, cutting classes, having someone from home called to the school for disciplinary purposes, and being sent to the principal’s office) than did nonjocks. Gender moderated the relationship between athlete status and school misconduct; athletic participation had a less salutary effect on misconduct for girls than for boys.

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

Contrary to popular assumption, adolescent anabolic-androgenic steroid use is not limited to serious male athletes. This paper examines the relationships among gender, athletic participation, and health-related problem behaviors among adolescent steroid users. Regression analyses were performed on a nationally representative sample of over 16,000 high school students (the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior Survey), of whom nearly 500 had used steroids. Compared to nonusers, steroid users were significantly more likely to report substance use, suicidal behavior, and sexual risk-taking; however, patterns of risk behavior varied by the user’s athletic status and gender. After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, and parental education, both athletic participation and female gender were negatively associated with most risk behaviors among users of anabolic steroids.