Researchers using social cognitive theory and employing built environment constructs to predict physical activity (PA) in inner-city African American children is quite limited. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of important social cognitive variables (e.g., self-efficacy) and built environment constructs (e.g., neighborhood hazards) to predict African American children’s PA. Children (N = 331, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing social cognitive theory constructs and PA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 19% of the variance in PA. Based on standardized beta weights, the best predictors of PA were time spent outside and social support derived from friends. These findings illuminate the valuable role of PA support from peers, as well as the simple act of going outside for inner-city African American children.
Jeffrey J. Martin and Nate McCaughtry
Kimberley A. Klint and Maureen R. Weiss
One of the most important issues facing youth sport researchers and practitioners is an understanding of why children participate in sport programs. The participation motivation research, however, has not been linked to an existing theoretical model. Thus the purpose of this study was to test the notions, based on Harter's (1978, 1981) competence motivation theory, that perceptions of competence are related to particular motives children have for sport participation. Sixty-seven children involved in youth gymnastic programs were administered the physical, social, and cognitive subscales of Harter's (1982) Perceived Competence Scale and a motives for gymnastic participation questionnaire. Discriminant function analyses revealed support for competence motivation theory as a viable explanation for the relationship between competence perceptions and motives for participation in sport. Specifically, children high in perceived physical competence were more motivated by skill development reasons, and gymnasts high in perceived social competence were more motivated by the affiliation aspects of sport when compared to their low perceived competence counterparts.
Jillian McNiff and Thomas J. Aicher
In 2013, approximately 5.3 million students took an online course in the United States—a 3.7% increase, when compared with 2012. This growth in e-learning may impact sport participation and the educational experience of student-athletes. This change creates various challenges and opportunities for those who support student-athletes’ educational development. Therefore, using the zone for proximal development and scaffolding theory, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the role student-athlete support services staff play in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of e-learning, and to identify strategies and best practices associated with e-learning. Qualitative interviews were conducted with directors of student-athlete support service organizations within Division I athletics. Results of the analysis engendered three central themes: (a) faculty relations, (b) lack of formal assessment, and (c) educational opportunities. The results aligned with the tenets of the zone of proximal development and scaffolding theory. In addition, a framework to assist student-athletes’ development is presented.
Andreas Stenling and Susanne Tafvelin
Leadership development programs are common in sports, but seldom evaluated; hence, we have limited knowledge about what the participants actually learn and the impact these programs have on sports clubs’ daily operations. The purpose of the current study was to integrate a transfer of training model with self-determination theory to understand predictors of learning and training transfer, following a leadership development program among organizational leaders in Swedish sports clubs. Bayesian multilevel path analysis showed that autonomous motivation and an autonomy-supportive implementation of the program positively predicted near transfer (i.e., immediately after the training program) and that perceiving an autonomy-supportive climate in the sports club positively predicted far transfer (i.e., 1 year after the training program). This study extends previous research by integrating a transfer of training model with self-determination theory and identified important motivational factors that predict near and far training transfer.
Jean M. Williams and Bonnie L. Parkhouse
Sex bias in attitudes toward male and female basketball coaches was examined within a context of social learning theory to determine if the precepts of social learning theory help clarify exactly when and why differential attitudes toward males and females occur. More specifically, would having a male or female coach role model and participating on a winning or losing team mediate sex bias previously found when female athletes evaluate hypothetical coaches who vary in sex and status (defined by won/loss record and coaching honors)? In addition to evaluating written coaching philosophy statements from a hypothetical male and female coach with a successful or unsuccessful professional status, the subjects (N=80) were forced to choose which coach they would prefer to have as their own. Attitudes were mediated by both the sex of the athlete's own coach and successfulness of the athlete's team. There appears to be merit in future researchers examining the potential causes of sex stereotypes and bias within a context of social learning theory.
Davis and Sumara (2003) argue that differences between commonsense assumptions about learning and those upon which constructivism rests present a significant challenge for the fostering of constructivist approaches to teaching in schools. Indeed, as Rink (2001) suggests, initiating any change process for teaching method needs to involve some understanding of the theories supporting it. Although there has been considerable discussion about constructivism in the physical education literature over the past decade, there has been less attention paid to the assumptions about learning and knowledge that underpin it. This article makes a contribution toward redressing this oversight in the literature by examining the epistemology and assumptions about learning that constructivist theories of learning rest upon. Drawing on the work of Davis and Sumara (2003), I suggest that the term “complex” learning theories may offer a more useful description of the sometimes confusing range of constructivist approaches. I provide examples of, and suggestions for, the application of constructivism in practice and within which the body forms a prominent theme.
Robert L. Sainburg
The purpose of this commentary is to discuss factors that limit consideration of the equilibrium point hypothesis as a scientific theory. The EPH describes control of motor neuron threshold through the variable lambda, which corresponds to a unique referent configuration for a muscle, joint, or combination of joints. One of the most compelling features of the equilibrium point hypothesis is the integration of posture and movement control into a single mechanism. While the essential core of the hypothesis is based upon spinal circuitry interacting with peripheral mechanics, the proponents have extended the theory to include the higher-level processes that generate lambda, and in doing so, imposed an injunction against the supraspinal nervous system modeling, computing, or predicting dynamics. This limitation contradicts evidence that humans take account of body and environmental dynamics in motor selection, motor control, and motor adaptation processes. A number of unresolved limitations to the EPH have been debated in the literature for many years, including whether muscle resistance to displacement, measured during movement, is adequate to support this form of control, violations in equifinality predictions, spinal circuits that alter the proposed invariant characteristic for muscles, and limitations in the description of how the complexity of spinal circuitry might be integrated to yield a unique and stable equilibrium position for a given motor neuron threshold. In addition, an important empirical limitation of EPH is the measurement of the invariant characteristic, which needs to be done under a constant central state. While there is no question that the EPH is an elegant and generative hypothesis for motor control research, the claim that this hypothesis has reached the status of a scientific theory is premature.
William J. Morgan
I reexamine some of the contentious issues that frame the debate between MacAloon, who champions an American anthropological approach to the study of sport, and Hargreaves and Tomlinson, who favor a British cultural studies approach to the study of sport. Specifically, I take up Hargreaves and Tomlinson’s central charge that MacAloon’s critical account of British cultural studies, especially its hegemonist wing, is to be dismissed as a one-sided, “staggering misrepresentation.” I argue that while MacAloon misinterprets certain features of this hegemonist writing on sport, his main criticisms of British hegemony sport theory are telling ones that repay closer study.
M. Ann Hall
Using my own experience in sport, I explore two themes in this paper. One is that sport and feminism are often seen as incompatible. This means that sport is often overlooked, or at best underestimated, as a site of cultural struggle where gender relations are reproduced and sometimes resisted. The second is that there is a seemingly impervious border within sport feminism between academics and activists, between theory and practice, between the academy and the community, between researchers and the researched. The “Beckwith Belles” are women’s lived experience in sport and the context in which I examine the implication of these two themes.
Stéphane Perreault and Dan Q. Marisi
The purpose of the present field study was to examine the predictions of Multidimensional Anxiety Theory (MAT; Martens et al., 1990) with elite male wheelchair basketball players. Thirty-seven elite male wheelchair basketball players completed the CSAI-II prior to each of three tournament games. Results were analyzed using the intraindividual procedures recommended by Sonstroem and Bernado (1982), and separate polynomial trend analyses were used to test the predictions of MAT. Results did not provide statistical support for MAT in that there were no reliable trends between cognitive state anxiety, somatic state anxiety, state self-confidence, and basketball performance. Avenues for future research are suggested.