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Vicki Ebbeck, Patti Lou Watkins and Susan S. Levy

This study examined possible determinants of some of the health behaviors of larger women. Specifically, it was of interest to discern if affect (depression, social physique anxiety) mediated the relationship between self-conceptions (global self-worth, perceived physical appearance) and behavior (disordered eating, physical activity). The investigation was grounded in the model of self-worth forwarded by Harter (1987). A total of 71 overweight or obese women agreed to participate in the study. Data collection involved a researcher meeting individually with each of the participants to record physical assessments as well as responses to a packet of self-report questionnaires. A series of canonical correlation analyses were then conducted to test each of the three conditions for mediation effects outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). Results suggested that indeed the set of self-conceptions indirectly influenced the set of behaviors via the set of affect variables. Surprisingly, however, involvement in physical activity failed to contribute to the multivariate relationships. The findings further our understanding of how self-conceptions are related to behavior and highlight the value of examining multiple health behaviors in parallel.

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Jacqueline G. Haslett

The purpose of this paper is to give historical insight into the progressive thinking of nineteenth century American philanthropist, Mary Hemenway (1820-1894), and why she was interested and believed in physical education for females. Also interesting is how her integrated thinking is compatible with the thinking in present-day education reform

The presentation of the findings will include a brief background of Mrs. Hemenway’s family life, and a brief description of her philanthropic contributions and activities. These include: 1) public education in America, particularly female education, 2) physical education and home economics education, 3) Native-American research, and 4) other significant issues and philanthropic activities in American education. The major focus will be her contributions to physical education and her founding of the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, and influences that persuaded her interests in these pursuits.

The sources used include early normal school catalogues, minutes of meetings, course syllabi and lecture synopses, written papers, early and recent bulletins, personal correspondences, government reports, college documents, pamphlets, memorial pamphlet, one new and several old books, and old newspaper clippings and professional journals.

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James Curtis, John Loy and Wally Karnilowicz

Recent research has shown that there are “death dips” for suicide around major ceremonial occasions, and for certain public holidays in particular. This research suggests that the suicide-dip phenomenon is caused by increased social integration associated with such occasions. Elsewhere in the literature, sociological interpretations of major sport events indicate that they, too, serve as ceremonial occasions and play an integrative role in society. Building from these two sets of observations, we test the hypothesis that suicide rates for the national population (1972-78) are lower than expected during and just before two sport ceremonial days: the last day of the World Series and Super Bowl Sunday. Comparisons are made with suicide patterns around two civil holidays—the 4th of July and Thanksgiving Day—for which suicide dips have previously been reported. The results for both the sport events and the civil holidays show that suicides are comparatively low just before and during the ceremonial days and comparatively high just after them. The effects for the sport ceremonies are weak, but the common elements in the patterns of findings for the sport events and civil holidays suggest that the suicide-dip phenomenon extends to these sport ceremonies.

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Anita Wyznikiewicz-Nawracala

The reasons for reported low sport activity of Polish women usually have been explained by too many responsibilities at work outside the home and at home. Yet, with the introduction of aerobics into Poland women apparently have had to overcome these hindrances. Other factors are assumed to be decisive reasons for physically active women in their mature years rather than the reasons which, up to now, were accepted as facts.

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors differentiating women who are active in sport and women who are not interested in sport but take care of their body spending holidays at spas.

The investigation was based on an interview, including a questionnaire to evaluate opinions on health and feelings. The questionnaire consisted of the following areas: personal data, occupation, level of education, health problems and sport activities practiced in youth.

There are many factors related to why women are physically active, but the main influence comes from how active they were in their younger years. The financial status and lack of time only make a difference with respect to what kind of sport is practiced; it does not affect whether or not a sport is practiced.

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James E. Curtis and Barry D. McPherson

This paper presents the results of a multivariate analysis of the relationship between region and the extent of participation in sport and physical activities, employing data from a large (N=20,000+) survey of a national sample of Canadian adults. The region-activity relationship is one that has been suggested also by some U.S. studies; that is, the farther west the respondent’s place of residence, the more likely he or she is to report high rates of physical activity. For the U.S. results, a convenient and common interpretation has been that the more favorable climate for outdoor activities in the westerly states leads to higher activity. This interpretation is not adequate for the Canadian findings, however, because of the harsher winter climate in the western provinces. Therefore, we explore some alternative theoretical interpretations of the Canadian results. These involve the effects of regional differences in three types of factors: sociodemographic composition, socioeconomic profiles, and opportunity structures. Because these factors are shown in our analyses to have only small effects upon the region-activity relationship, we also include some proposals for still further avenues of analysis and interpretation of the regional differences.

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Justine J. Reel, Katherine M. Jamieson, Sonya SooHoo and Diane L. Gill

Dancers, like other athletes and performers, are faced with the pressure to obtain a particular body shape and size that stems from varied etiological factors (e.g., personality characteristics, demands of the dance environment) (Robson, 2002). This study examined specific concerns for college dancers by utilizing quantitative and qualitative forms of inquiry. The purpose of the initial phase was to assess weight-related pressures, social physique anxiety, and disordered eating in college female modern dancers (N=107) using the Weight Pressure in Dance (Reel & Gill, 1996), Social Physique Anxiety Scale (Hart, Leary, & Rejeski, 1989), and The Eating Disorder Inventory (Garner, 1991). An overwhelming majority (76%) of the dancers reported pressures to lose weight with the most commonly cited stressor being the mirror followed by costumes, performance advantage, comparison to other dancers, and landing the best roles. The mean social physique anxiety score was moderate, but 35 dancers exhibited a high degree of social physique anxiety. In addition, the dancers had a lower tendency toward disordered eating compared to college females (Garner, 1991). The second phase of the study confirmed that modern dancers experience unique pressures. Through qualitative inquiry, the participants’ individualized experiences related to body image and the culture of modern dance could be shared.

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Harry J. Meeuwsen, Sinah L. Goode and Noreen L. Goggin

The purpose of this experiment was to replicate and extend earlier experiments used to investigate the effect of the motor response, experience with open skills, and gender on coincidence-anticipation timing accuracy. Fifteen males and fifteen females, who were all right-eye and right-hand dominant, performed a switch-press and a hitting coincident-anticipation timing task on a Bassin Anticipation Timing apparatus with stimulus speeds of 4 mph, 8 mph, and 12 mph. Level of experience with open skills was determined by a self-report questionnaire and vision was screened using the Biopter Vision Test. Experience with open skills explained some of the variable error data, possibly supporting a socio-cultural explanation of gender differences. Males performed with less variable and absolute error than females, while performance bias was different for the genders on the two tasks. All participants performed with less absolute error on the 8 mph stimulus speed. The type of task and stimulus speed affected performance variability differently. Based on the task characteristics and these data, it was concluded that optimal effector anticipation is more strongly linked to stimulus speed than receptor anticipation. Future studies will have to confirm this conclusion.

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Christine Dallaire, Louise Lemyre, Daniel Krewski and Laura Beth Gibbs

In Canada, as in other neo-liberal states, a physically active lifestyle is discursively constructed as a moral activity, whereas a sedentary lifestyle is criticized as a failure to take charge of one’s health (Bercovitz, 2000; Lupton, 1997). This study aims to understand how Canadian men and women articulate the discursive connections between physical activity and health risks and how those connections are reflected in their reported behaviors. Analysis shows that some of the 37 men and 36 women interviewed not only “talk the talk” regarding physical activity, they also claim to lead an active lifestyle. However, “active” participants were disciplined into frequent physical activity not simply by the discursive effects of the fitness mantra promising better health, but because they enjoyed it. Conversely, the not-active-enough participants were unwilling to fully comply with the requirements of the fitness discourses because they found no pleasure in “exercise.” Despite adopting physical activity as a key strategy to manage their health risks, interviews revealed that the latter group were not docile bodies (Foucault, 1995).

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Mary Yoke

Objective:

Physical inactivity, overweight, and obesity are endemic in the United States and in the developed world, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. More information is needed regarding the physical activity beliefs, attitudes, barriers, and perceived self-control among those who are sedentary and weight-challenged. The purpose of this study was to elicit physical activity beliefs about feasibility, pleasure, and movement descriptions from sedentary, middle-aged, overweight women.

Methods:

Open-ended questions were used throughout individual interviews with 23 participants (age: M = 52.0, SD = 7.3; BMI: M = 34.2, SD = 9.79); attitudes and beliefs regarding physical activity and movement descriptions were documented. Participants were divided into those who were completely sedentary (12 women) and those who regularly engaged in physical activity (11 women).

Results:

A content analysis revealed that sedentary women were less active and had more perceived barriers to physical activity than active women. The most frequently cited perceived barriers were injuries, caregiving responsibilities, time, age, dislike of sweating, and depression. Sedentary women were less likely to report physical activity as pleasurable; they were also more likely to cite having an exercise buddy as an optimal activity situation. The most frequently cited pleasurable activities in both groups were yoga, movement to music, stretching, and walking.

Conclusions:

This study provided evidence that perceived barriers to physical activity must be addressed, that low-intensity programs are needed and desired by overweight and sedentary women, and that movement activities must be found that are enjoyable for the target population.

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Monica A. Kunesh, Cynthia A. Hasbrook and Rebecca Lewthwaite

Premised on an interactive socialization as construction and internalization approach, physical activity socialization experiences related to peer interactions and associated affective responses in physical activity settings were explored among eight 11- to 12-year-old girls. Three possible physical activity choices (formal sport, informal physical activity, and exercise) were considered. Three methods of data collection were employed: observation, sociometric evaluation, and interview. Physical activity socialization experiences were found to be context specific both in terms of activity type (formal sport, informal physical activity, and exercise) and social situation (home and school). Boys in physical education classes appeared to be the major source of negative peer treatment, primarily by criticizing girls’ physical skill performances and constructing them as subordinate to those of the boys. Positive or negative affective responses to peer treatment were reported to lead to the seeking or avoidance of future physical activity involvement. The type of attributions participants made for the negative treatment they received was related to their affective responses and subsequent desire to seek or avoid future activity.