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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.