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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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Joel Thirer and Stephen D. Wright

The purpose of this study was to examine the social status criteria for male and female adolescents in the mid-1980s and to compare these results with those of Eitzen (1976) and Coleman (1961a, 1961b). It was further intended to transcend these previous studies by examining the criteria by which male and female adolescents ascribed social status for females relative to being an athlete. The results indicated that the trend toward deemphasizing the importance of athletics as a status symbol for male adolescents, which appeared in Eitzen’s research, was not supported. Being an athlete was still the foremost criteria for male popularity when judged by both male and female adolescents. This is similar to the pattern reported by Coleman (1961a, 1961b) in his research of males judging males. For females, being an athlete was ascribed fairly low social status when judged by both male and female adolescents. This indicates that at the time of the present study, even with the impact of Title IX legislation, athletic performance is still not a valued attribute for female adolescents in the eyes of male and female peers.

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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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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.

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Daniel G. Renfrow, Terrence L. Wissick and Christopher M. Guard

Drawing on 251 incident reports, this study explores American football fans’ decisions to rush the field to celebrate a victory despite pleas from university officials and the police to abstain. We explore the symbolic interactions through which students defined this situation and acted within it. Our findings characterize this event as series of ongoing interactions wherein meaning and action are continually (re)negotiated. Campus rumors normalized the act of rushing by locating it and the student role within local tradition. Through interactions with other students in the stadium and by drawing on knowledge of prior sports tragedies, fans assessed the risks of participating and selected among lines of action ranging from “going to be with others” and “getting out of the way” to “going with the flow.” Ultimately, however, public address announcements, the loss of bodily control, and the inability to direct other people’s actions aligned competing definitions of the situation into one of emergency. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Megan M. Buning

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between coach expectations, female athletes’ perceptions of coach behavior, and motivation to play softball, and to observe changes in perceptions of behavior and motivation by expectancy group. Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000) was used as a guide. Participants were randomly selected from Division I softball teams competing in the United States (n = 20). Head coaches (n = 20) completed evaluations rating expectations of athletes’ performance ability, and athletes (n = 148) self-reported motivation and perceived coaching behaviors pre- and post-study. Cluster analysis distinguished between three expectancy groups based from coach expectation ratings: High, low, and average. Pearson’s r revealed weak relationships between coach expectancy ratings, perceived coaching behaviors, and motivation. Split-plot analysis of variance tests revealed expectancy groups perceived behaviors differently and were motivated differently. Low expectancy athletes perceived more non-rewarding behaviors, less positive behaviors, and were more non-self-determined to play softball. Overall, coaches were perceived as mostly positive.

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Molly Burger and Dennis Dolny

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among body mass index (BMI), body image perception, physical activity habits, and exercise stage of change in college-aged females. Volunteers (N = 134) completed a survey of demographics, Stage of Exercise Scale (SOES; Cardinal, 1995a; Cardinal, 1995b), Physical Activity History questionnaire (PAH; Jacobs, Hahn, Haskell, Pirie, & Sidney, 1989), and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987). Participants were categorized into five exercise stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Relationships between the variables were analyzed with Pearson r correlations. Kruskal-Wallis independence tests were also used for analyses. Approximately 60% of the participants reported current physical inactivity or irregular exercise. BMI and body image score were significantly linearly related, with higher body mass indicating more negative body image (r = 30, p <.017). Significant differences existed between exercise stages for physical activity score, X2 (3, N = 134) = 19.98, p <.05. Based upon follow-up tests participants in the maintenance stage had significantly higher physical activity scores than all other stages. No significant differences were found for BMI or body image between exercise stages. Regular exercisers had the highest frequency of disordered eating and weight-preoccupied attitudes and behaviors. The majority of these women were not currently regularly physically active, professed dissatisfaction with their current level of activity, and expressed a fear of being fat. Further study directed at specific factors related to body image and exercise behaviors, as well as the impact of stage-specific interventions are suggested.

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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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James M. Pivarnik, Christopher P. Connolly, Mallory R. Marshall and Rebecca A. Schlaff

Previous research clearly indicates that exercise training decreases during pregnancy, even among the fittest of women. Despite this, women are typically able to resume their prepregnancy exercise routines soon after delivery, and in some instances, their postpartum performances are better than previously experienced. While anecdotal reports are common, there does not appear to be significant research data to explain this phenomenon. In this review, we explore possible physiologic explanations for heightened postpartum exercise performance, such as pregnancy related changes in aerobic fitness, lactate threshold, flexibility, and musculoskeletal fitness. At this time, limited data do not appear to support an ergogenic role for these variables. Another consideration is a positive change in a woman’s psyche or perceptions toward her athletic abilities as a result of her pregnancy and delivery. While this concept is theoretically possible and may have scientific merit, data are sparse. What is clear is that an increasing number of women are maintaining their physical activity and exercise routines during pregnancy, with many able to return to competition soon after delivery. Well-designed studies are needed to further explore the relationships among physiologic and psychological variables and postpartum exercise performance. Ideally, these studies should be prospective (studying women prepregnancy through the postpartum period) and include diverse samples of women with regard to activity type and fitness level.

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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.