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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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Katherine M. Jamieson, Kaori Araki, Yong Chul Chung, Sun Yong Kwon, Lisa Riggioni and Victoria Acosta Musalem

Recently, a significant growth in immigrant populations has influenced the social, cultural, and political landscape of many local communities. Understanding such changes in U.S. and local demography are central to effective efforts toward reducing physical inactivity, and associated health risks and diseases. In part to document the ways that physical activity currently fits into particular women’s lives, and as critique of the essentialized notions of immigrant communities as deficient in their health standards, we set out to investigate just how physically active Latinas in local communities were. The research was guided by the following two questions: 1) What are the social conditions under which adolescent Latinas make choices about physical activity? 2) To what extent are adolescent Latinas involved in physical activity? Centering on these two questions we administered questionnaires that measured current physical activity involvement, and individual and family background factors. Survey data indicate that Latina physical activity scores increase when home and work related physical activity is included in a self-report measure.

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Lynda B. Ransdell, Mary K. Dinger, Stacy Beske and Colleen Cooke

The purpose of this paper is to examine factors related to success in academic publishing for women in exercise science. Two trained investigators conducted hand searches of 7 prominent exercise science journals to ascertain the names of the most prolific women authors between 1991 and 1996. Seventeen (17) women, whose names will not be revealed (due to confidentiality), were identified. Following their identification, women were asked to submit a copy of their vita and complete a questionnaire related to scholarly productivity. Thirteen out of seventeen women agreed to participate in the study, yielding a response rate of 76%. Personal attributes that contributed most to their success in publishing were self-motivation, discipline, and perseverance. Situational or sociological factors mentioned were the availability of mentors, talented collaborators, and institutional or personal support. Some tips for maximizing productivity include having proper preparation and a narrow focus, and developing skills in writing, research design, and analysis. Women reported many gender-related barriers early in their careers, but these barriers faded with experience and reputation establishment. The two most frequent recommendations for ensuring successful collaborations with others were completing work in a timely fashion and being a team player. Sacrifices made for publishing included fewer social interactions and less time for leisure activities and vacations. With the exception of some barriers related to gender, our findings are in agreement with others who have examined correlates of productivity in mixed samples of men and women from a variety of fields.

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Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Katherine W. Bauer, Peter J. Hannan, Mary Story and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Little is known about adolescent girls’ accuracy of perception of physical activity (PA) opportunities in their neighborhood. Furthermore, few studies have explored whether proximity to PA opportunities is associated with girls’ recent use. Participants included 356 high school girls enrolled in New Moves, a school-based physical activity intervention. Objective proximity to neighborhood PA opportunities was assessed using Geographic Information System (GIS) software. Girls self-reported their perceived proximity to resources and recent use of these opportunities. Girls’ perceived proximity of distance to a park, walking/biking trail, and recreational center was associated with recent use of these resources (P = .02, P < .001, P < .001, respectively), whereas associations were not found with objective measures of distance. Both perceived and objective proximity were associated with recent use of a private fitness facility (P = .006 and P = .002, respectively). Perceived proximity to neighborhood PA opportunities is associated with use of those resources among adolescent girls. Increasing awareness of neighborhood opportunities could be a viable method to increasing PA.

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Päivi Lampinen and Riitta-Liisa Heikkinen

The purpose of this prospective study, which is part of the Finnish Evergreen project, was to study depressive symptoms and positive self-esteem in different physical activity categories among men and women aged 65 and over during an eight-year period. Only subjects (N=663) who participated in both the baseline (1988) and the follow-up (1996) interviews were selected for the analyses. Depressive symptoms and positive self-esteem were assessed using a modified version of Beck’s 13-item scale (RBDI; Raitasalo, 1995). The intensity of physical activity was assessed on a seven-point scale ranging from the performance of necessary chores only to competitive sports. In addition, lifelong physical exercise was assessed by two questions. Number of chronic diseases and marital status were obtained from the participants themselves. Gender, lifelong physical exercise, intensity of physical activity and chronic diseases were associated with depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Physically active men and women and lifelong exercisers reported fewer depressive symptoms than their sedentary counterparts both at baseline and follow-up. The self-esteem scores were fairly similar among both sexes in the different categories of physical activity in both study years. The most active women had higher self-esteem scores than the more sedentary ones. Based upon these results, physical activity and lifelong physical exercise may prevent depressive symptoms and maintain positive self-esteem in older age. Positive measures should therefore be taken to support regular physical activity among older men and women.

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Hilary Mathesen and Kay Flatten

This research was to assess changes in Great Britain (GB) in the percent coverage of women’s sports in six national and Sunday newspapers (Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Express, Mail and Mirror) between 1984 and 1994. Measurements were taken of all sports articles on the front pages, editorial pages and sports pages for the period 1st-14th July in both years. Data were categorized into male only, female only and mixed articles per day, square centimetres per day and photos per day. There was a decrease in percentage coverage of women’s sport coverage (articles per day down 5.2%; cm2 per day down 5.2%; photos per day down 7.1%) while the overall coverage of sport increased. During the time period the portion of GB Olympians who were women increased by 7% and there was a 3% increase in proportion of sports participants in the general population who were women. An adjustment index is presented which uses population figures and sport participation figures to calculate the proportion of sport participants who are female. This index was used to assess fairness in reporting sport.

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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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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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Ruth Ference and K. Denise Muth

The purpose of the study was to investigate how involvement in exercise and participation in team sports were related to the multidimension self-perceptions of middle school females. The study was conducted in 2 middle schools with 181 8th-grade females. Instruments used were the Physical Activity Survey and Harter’s Self-Perception Profile for Children. Results show that participation in team sports was related to four domains of self-perception: social acceptance, athletic competence, scholastic competence, and global self-worth. Informal exercise was related to social acceptance and global self-worth of middle school females. Therefore, it appears that both team sports and exercise may be important in enhancing self-concept in middle school females. Results also show that over half of middle school females in this study participated in three or more team sports during middle school. However, almost half of these students report exercising informally less than three times a week. These results support the increased opportunities of team sports for middle school females.

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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.