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Rachel Allison

Although women athletes in professional sport are uniquely positioned to expose the limits of gender essentialist ideology and challenge its relationship with inequality, little empirical research has considered how professional women athletes understand and negotiate gender ideologies. Drawing on 19 in-depth interviews and one e-mail exchange with U.S. women’s professional soccer players, this article finds that sportswomen strategically endorse constructions of gender difference while simultaneously universalizing White, middle-class women’s experiences. “Privileging difference” is a narrative whereby players recognize belief in women’s physical inferiority to men and argue for women’s moral superiority to men as a source of value and reward for women’s sport. Sportswomen’s moral authority is defined from a position of racialized class privilege, as players construct an idealized woman player who sacrifices material reward for emotional satisfaction and who emphasizes future change over present conditions.

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Rachel Allison

Integrating the Student-Athlete Climate Study conceptual framework with critical race and intersectionality theories, I examine racial differences in the perceived effects of college on life skill development among college sportswomen. I use nationally representative data from the NCAA’s 2006 Growth, Opportunity, Aspirations, and Learning of Students in College (GOALS) survey to examine whether team and/or campus climate mediate racial differences. I find small, but statistically significant differences whereby sportswomen of color report less positive effects of college on leadership, teamwork, time management, and work ethic compared to white sportswomen, but more positive effects of college on their understanding of people of other races. Campus climate, but not team climate, partially mediates racial differences in the perceived effects of college on leadership, teamwork, time management, and work ethic.

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Rachel Allison and Chris Knoester

Using data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,988), this study analyzes associations between gender, sexual, and sports fan identities. The authors find that only 11% of U.S. adults do not identify as sports fans at all; also, nearly half of U.S. adults identify as quite passionate sports fans. Women and nonbinary adults are less likely to identify as strong sports fans compared with men. Compared with identifying as heterosexual, identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or another sexual identity is negatively associated with self-identified sports fandom. Yet, gender and sexuality interact such that identifying as gay (or lesbian) is negatively associated with men’s self-identified sports fandom but not women’s fandom. These findings persist even after consideration of adults’ retrospective accounts of their sports-related identities while growing up and their recognition of sports-related mistreatment.

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Jacqueline Kerr, Greg Norman, Rachel Millstein, Marc A. Adams, Cindy Morgan, Robert D. Langer, and Matthew Allison

Background:

Few studies of older adults have compared environmental correlates of walking and physical activity in women who may be more influenced by the environment. Environmental measures at different spatial levels have seldom been compared. Findings from previous studies are generally inconsistent.

Methods:

This study investigated the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in older women from the Women’s Health Initiative cohort in San Diego County (N = 5401). Built environment measures were created for 3 buffers around participants’ residential address. Linear regression analyses investigated the relationship between the built environment features and self-reported physical activity and walking.

Results:

Total walking was significantly positively associated with the walkability index (β = .050: half-mile buffer), recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer), and distance to the coast (β = –.064; P-values < .05). Total physical activity was significantly negatively associated with distance to the coast and positively with recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer; P < .05).

Conclusions:

Although effect sizes were small, we did find important relationships between walkability and walking in older adults, which supports recommendations for community design features to include age friendly elements. More intense physical activity may occur in recreational settings than neighborhood streets.

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Chantal A. Vella, Erin D. Michos, Dorothy D. Sears, Mary Cushman, Rachel B. Van Hollebeke, Michelle M. Wiest, and Matthew A. Allison

Background: Sedentary behaviors (SB) may exacerbate loss of muscle mass and function, independent of physical activity levels. This study examined the associations of SB with abdominal muscle area and density, a marker of muscle quality, in adults. Methods: A total of 1895 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis completed detailed health history, physical activity and SB questionnaires, computed tomography to quantify body composition, and measurements of inflammatory markers. Analyses included linear and nonlinear regression. Results: The mean age and body mass index were 64.6 years and 28 kg·m−2, respectively, and 50% were women. On average, participants engaged in 28 metabolic equivalent hours·week−1 of SB. With adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, physical activity, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and inflammation, multivariable regression modeling revealed a nonlinear (quadratic) relationship between SB and locomotor, stability, and total abdominal muscle density (P < .01) but not muscle area. The SB inflection point at which locomotor, stability, and total abdominal muscle density began to decrease was 38.2, 39.6, and 39.2 metabolic equivalent hours·week−1 of SB, respectively. Conclusions: SB is associated with reduced muscle density when practiced as little as 5.5 metabolic equivalent hours·day−1. These findings may have important implications for SB guidelines for targeting skeletal muscle health in older adults.