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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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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.

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Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv

The main purpose of this article is to review a series of studies (N = 18) on the physical characteristics, physiological attributes, throwing velocity and accuracy, and on-court performances of female team handball players. Studies were selected from a computerized search in electronic databases (PubMed, SPORT Discus) as well as from a manual search. Five main findings emerged from this review: (1) a tall and heavy build was advantageous in team handball—mean height ranged from 165.9±.3 cm to 179±4 cm and mean body mass ranged from 62.4±6.2 kg to 72.0±6.3 kg; (2) VO2max values of female players were between 47-54 ml·kg-1·min-1; (3) throwing velocity was higher by as much as 11% in elite female players compared to amateur female players; (4) during 90% of playing time, heart rate (HR) was above 85% of HRmax, and the average VO2 was 79% of VO2max in female players; and (5) on-court distance covered averaged approximately 4 km and varied between 2-5 km in female players, depending on the playing position of the player. Most of the studies reviewed were cross-sectional, and only a few reported data on on-court performance. There is a need for additional manipulative studies to determine the influence of various training programs on game performance. In addition, conditioning programs that develop power and strength should be emphasized, and attention should be given to the player’s playing position and skill level.

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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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Patti L. Williams, Roger G. Sargent, Robert F. Valois, J. Wanzer Drane, Deborah M. Parra-Medina and Larry J. Durstine

This study is an examination of eating behaviors and body image concerns among 587 female collegiate athletes from nine colleges/universities representing 14 different sports. Measures included the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2), the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), and a questionnaire gathering general demographic information, reasons for dieting and/or using other methods of weight control, as well as information about expressed concerns from others regarding the respondents weight. Three sport groups were hypothesized to be at increased risk: athletes whose performance is subjectively scored; athletes who compete in a sport where a low body weight is considered advantageous; and athletes who must wear body conrevealing clothing. Chi-Square and Logistic Regression analyses revealed no association between these sport groups and the presence of a subclinical eating disorder (SED). Additional analyses determined no statistical association between student-athletes competing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level (versus Division II or III level) or student-athletes who were scholarship recipients (versus non-scholarship recipients) and the presence of SED. Student-athletes who have heard expressed concerns from others regarding their body weight were significantly more likely to report the presence of SED (p < .0001). Therefore, special care should be taken with all student-athletes when discussing body weight.

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Diane M. Wiese-Bjornstal, Ayanna N. Franklin, Tara N. Dooley, Monique A. Foster and James B. Winges

Injuries contrast with the overwhelmingly positive benefits of sports participation for female athletes, with estimates of a third or more of all female athletes sustaining injury in any given season. Media headlines convey the impression that female athletes are more vulnerable to sports injuries than male athletes are. This observation led to our first purpose, which was to use evidence from the sports injury surveillance literature to examine the facts about female athlete risks of injury and compare these risks to those of male athletes. In light of Gill and Kamphoff’s (2010) observation that we largely ignore or underrepresent female experiences in the sport and exercise psychology literature, our second purpose was to highlight examples of the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of female athletes’ injury experiences, and provide comparisons to male experiences within this realm of sports medicine psychology. These evidence-based observations guide our concluding recommendations for injury reporting, prevention, and rehabilitation roles of those in the media and sports professions.

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Cheryl Govero and Barbara A. Bushman

Athletes are at a high risk for eating disorders due to the pressures placed on them by themselves as well as coaches. The purposes of this study were (1) to determine the knowledge level of eating disorders among cross country coaches, (2) to determine their level of confidence in this knowledge, and (3) to determine reported sources of educational resources. Four schools were randomly selected from each NCAA Division I conference (return rate: 48%). A two-part questionnaire assessed sources of information and knowledge of eating disorders. Literature and sponsored programs were the two most common sources of information. For the 30 knowledge questions, coaches indicated their confidence level on a 4-item Likert-type scale. The knowledge of the majority of coaches was relatively high, and those with higher accuracy also had higher confidence. The confidence level and the percent of coaches answering each question correctly were significantly correlated, r=0.56 (p<0.01) but the confidence level and the percent answering incorrectly were not significantly correlated, r=0.24 (p=0.24). There were no significant differences in knowledge scores considering years of coaching (p=0.67) nor were there any significant differences in the scores between males and females (p=0.17). Although the cross country coaches were quite knowledgeable, additional ways to increase knowledge of eating disorders are needed.

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Kathleen E. Miller, Michael P. Farrell, Donald F. Sabo, Grace M. Barnes and Merrill J. Melnick

In this paper, we examine the relationships among athletic participation and sexual behavior, contraceptive use, and pregnancy in female and male high school students. Analyses of covariance and multiple analyses of covariance were performed on a nationally representative sample of 8,979 high school students (the 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). After controlling for race and ethnicity, age, and mother’s education, girls who participated in sports had lower rates of sexual experience, fewer sex partners, later age of first intercourse, higher rates of contraceptive use, and lower rates of past pregnancy than girls who did not participate. Male high school athletes reported higher rates of sexual experience and more partners than nonathletes, but—like their female counterparts—were also more likely to have used birth control during their most recent intercourse. Cultural resource theory suggests that athletic participation may reduce girls’ adherence to conventional cultural scripts while providing them with additional social and personal resources on which to draw in the sexual bargaining process. Sports provides boys with similar resources while strengthening their commitment to traditional masculine scripts.

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J. Vincent, Charles Imwold, J. T. Johnson and Dwayne Massey

This study was a comparison of how selected newspapers from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States reported on female athletes competing in four “gender-appropriate” sports with female athletes competing in four “gender-inappropriate” sports at the Centennial Olympic Games. The liberal feminist theoretical framework underpinning this study views equality of opportunity and individual liberty as an inevitable by-product of political, legal, and educational reform juxtaposed with a gradual social acceptance. Content Analysis was used to examine all the articles and photographs from the front pages and the sports sections of the newspapers. Based upon the data, female athletes competing in the “gender-appropriate” sports of swimming, gymnastics, tennis, and diving received more newspaper coverage than female athletes competing in the “gender-inappropriate” sports of soccer, softball, field hockey, and volleyball in terms of the average number of words per article and the average number of paragraphs per article. In addition, the “gender-appropriate” athletes were over-represented in the average number of photographs, the average number of photographs on the first page, and the average number of photographs on the top of the pages. Qualitative analyses of articles and photographs revealed a subtle but discernable amount of culturally stereotyped coverage.