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Timothy Jon Curry

This study examines the effects of winning a college letter on the sport identity of athletes participating at different levels of competition. The sample consisted of 276 male and 229 female athletes drawn from similar teams from three colleges in Ohio. The colleges were affiliated with the NCAA Divisions I and III and the NAIA. It was hypothesized that winning a letter would strengthen the sport identity, and that athletes participating at the higher level of competition would have the greater sport identity. Results confirmed both hypotheses. In addition, the sport identities of male and female athletes were compared. Importantly, no significant gender differences were found in the rating of sport importance, hours spent in sport, and the social relations obtained through sport. Men, however, showed greater competitive motivation and women greater identification with the role of athlete.

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Timothy Jon Curry

Photo-elicitation is a technique of interviewing in which photographs are used to stimulate and guide a discussion between the interviewer and the respondent. While much of the previous research done with the method has been conducted by anthropologists in foreign cultures, the technique is also well suited for the study of sports in America. This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of this method in comparison to standard interviewing, participant observation, and survey methods of studying sports. An illustrative portion is presented of a photo-elicitation interview conducted with an elite college wrestler about the violence, pain, and injury inherent in his sport, and the article concludes with a brief description of other sociology of sport topics currently being researched with the photo-elicitation interview.

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Timothy Jon Curry

This paper extends the research conducted on male bonding in locker rooms to another well-known but under-researched site, the campus bar. Through a life history of a former athlete, we learn about the connection between what is said in the locker room and behavior outside. We also gain insight into the role campus bars play in facilitating aggression and sexual misconduct by male athletes.

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Timothy Jon Curry

A profeminist perspective was employed to study male bonding in the locker rooms of two “big time” college sport teams. Locker room talk fragments were collected over the course of several months by a participant observer, a senior varsity athlete, and by a nonparticipant observer, a sport sociologist. Additional data were collected by means of field observations, intensive interviews, and life histories and were combined to interpret locker room interaction. The analysis indicated that fraternal bonding was strongly affected by competition. While competition provided an activity bond to other men that was rewarding and status enhancing, it also generated anxiety and other strong emotions that the athletes sought to control or channel. Moreover, peer group dynamics encouraged antisocial talk and behavior, much of which was directed at the athletes themselves. To avoid being targeted for jibes and put-downs, the men engaged in conversations that affirmed a traditional masculinity. As a result their locker room talk generally treated women as objects, encouraged sexist attitudes toward women and, in its extreme, promoted rape culture.

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Timothy Jon Curry and Otmar Weiss

The aim of this study is to compare competition, fitness, and social motivation for sport participation between American college athletes and Austrian student sport club members. Our hypotheses are drawn from symbolic interactionist theory, and we define sport motivation as the reasons that people give for participating in sport. The respondents are 301 University of Vienna student members of Austrian sport clubs and 397 college athletes drawn from three schools in Ohio. The results indicate (a) statistically significant main effects for ANOVA comparisons between competition and fitness motivation and the factors of gender and country, (b) a statistically significant two-way interaction between social motivation and gender and country, and (c) statistically significant Pearson product moment correlations between competition and fitness motives and the involvement of self in the sport role. Thus, we conclude that motivation for sport participation is likely to be influenced by the values of the sport organization as well as the sport and gender identities of the participant.

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Timothy Jon Curry and Robert Parr

This research replicates a previous study that examined key components of Stryker’s identity theory as applied to the sport role. In addition, while the previous study examined components of the sport role just for male students at a large state university, this study includes 149 female and 199 male students at a small college and tests the model on both the sport and the religious identities. The instrument used is the Sport Identities Index. We find that the salience of sport is significantly different for males and females, while religious salience is not. We find further that both males and females show similar patterns of association between commitment, salience, role performance satisfaction, and time spent in role for sports. The relationships are not as consistent for religion. Implications of these findings suggest further refinements are needed in measuring and conceptualizing identity under conditions of high salience.

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Timothy Jon Curry and Jeffrey S. Weaner

The social psychological concept of identity has been recognized as an important approach to the study of role-related behavior, including sports behavior. Identity has been linked theoretically to the self-concept via the notion of a salience hierarchy, and the salience of an identity in turn has been shown to be associated with time spent in role and other measures of role performance. In this article we present some measurement procedures for the study of the sport identity, and we demonstrate the utility of these procedures by testing hypotheses derived from Stryker and Serpe’s (1982) research on religious role behavior. The sample used to test these hypotheses is a purposive sample of 220 male college students and athletes.