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Takahiro Sato and Samuel Russell Hodge

The purpose of this study was to describe and explain the teaching experiences of African American physical education teacher candidates in secondary physical education programs at urban schools. The research design was explanatory multiple-case study situated in positioning theory (Harré & van Langenhove, 1999). The participants were seven African American physical education teacher candidates. The data sources were interviews, self-reflective journal logs, and e-portfolios. The data were analyzed using a constant comparative method (Boeije, 2010). The thematic findings were: (a) tacit positioning (unconscious and unintentional), (b) self–other discourse, and (c) reflective positioning. The study’s findings offer additional empirical evidence that physical education teacher education programs must do more to better prepare teacher candidates for working in urban schools with greater cultural competency and higher self-efficacy.

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Bonnie Berry and Earl Smith

Criminological literature and statistics show that African Americans are comparatively overrepresented in the United States criminal justice system. This study explores whether African American athletes are similarly overrepresented as criminally involved sports figures. Data abundantly illustrate that African Americans fare worse in all phases of criminal justice compared to whites. It has been speculated that African Americans, perhaps due to cultural influences or blocked opportunities, do commit more crime than other racial categories. There is equally strong reason to believe that the representation of African Americans in the criminal justice system is largely a result of racial bias on the part of social control agencies. Crime among athletes, regardless of race, can be explained through social forces, such as collective behavior, organizational influences, and social process. We conclude that African American athletes are socially expected to be engaged in crime and suggest a new approach to this area of study.

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George B. Cunningham, Jennifer E. Bruening and Thomas Straub

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that contribute to the under representation of African Americans in head coaching positions. In Study 1, qualitative data were collected from assistant football (n = 41) and men’s basketball (n = 16) coaches to examine why coaches sought head coaching positions, barriers to obtaining such positions, and reasons for leaving the coaching profession. In Study 2, assistant football (n = 259) and men’s basketball coaches (n = 114) completed a questionnaire developed from Study 1. Results indicate that although there were no differences in desire to become a head coach, African Americans, relative to Whites, perceived race and opportunity as limiting their ability to obtain a head coaching position and had greater occupational turnover intentions. Context moderated the latter results, as the effects were stronger for African American football coaches than they were for African American basketball coaches. Results have practical implications for the advancement of African American football coaches into head coaching roles.

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Nancy Ambrose Gallagher, Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Jennifer C. Robinson, Elisa R. Torres, Susan L. Murphy and Kristy K. Martyn

Focus-group and photo-voice methodology were used to identify the salient factors of the neighborhood environment that encourage or discourage walking in older, urban African Americans. Twenty-one male (n = 2) and female (n = 19) African Americans age 60 years and older (M = 70 ± 8.7, range = 61–85) were recruited from a large urban senior center. Photographs taken by the participants were used to facilitate focus-group discussions. The most salient factors that emerged included the presence of other people, neighborhood surroundings, and safety from crime, followed by sidewalk and traffic conditions, animals, public walking tracks and trails, and weather. Future walking interventions for older African Americans should include factors that encourage walking, such as the presence of other friendly or active people, attractive or peaceful surroundings, and a sense of safety from crime.

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Jeffrey J. Martin and Nate McCaughtry

Researchers using social cognitive theory and employing built environment constructs to predict physical activity (PA) in inner-city African American children is quite limited. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of important social cognitive variables (e.g., self-efficacy) and built environment constructs (e.g., neighborhood hazards) to predict African American children’s PA. Children (N = 331, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing social cognitive theory constructs and PA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 19% of the variance in PA. Based on standardized beta weights, the best predictors of PA were time spent outside and social support derived from friends. These findings illuminate the valuable role of PA support from peers, as well as the simple act of going outside for inner-city African American children.

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Todd A. Smitherman, Patricia M. Dubbert, Karen B. Grothe, Jung Hye Sung, Darla E. Kendzor, Jared P. Reis, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Robert L. Newton Jr., Karen T. Lesniak and Herman A. Taylor Jr.

Background:

Physical inactivity has been consistently linked to cardiovascular disease, yet few instruments have been validated for assessment of physical activity in African Americans, a group particularly vulnerable to heart disease. The current study aimed to establish the psychometric properties of the activity survey used in the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) among African Americans, the JHS Physical Activity Cohort survey (JPAC).

Methods:

Test-retest reliability over 2 weeks was assessed using a convenience sample of 40 African Americans. Convergent validity with accelerometer and pedometer data were assessed in 2 samples from the JHS (N = 404 and 294, respectively).

Results:

Test-retest reliability was excellent, with intraclass correlations = .99 for the JPAC total and index scores. Higher JPAC total scores were significantly associated with higher raw accelerometer and pedometer counts. Spearman correlations between JPAC total scores and accelerometer (rho = .24) and pedometer counts (rho = .32) were consistent with these results. Most subscales were significantly correlated with the objective measures. The JPAC total score was most strongly associated with objectively-measured activity.

Conclusion:

This study provides support for the reliability and validity of the JPAC as a tool for assessing physical activity among African Americans across a variety of domains.

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Pamela G. Bowen, Yvonne D. Eaves, David E. Vance and Linda D. Moneyham

African American women are more likely to be classified as overweight or obese than European American women and little is known about this phenomenon. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of overweight and obese African American older women living in the southern regions of the United States. Semistructured, audiotaped interviews were conducted to elicit narratives from nine participants. Interview data were transcribed verbatim and then coded and analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological analysis framework. Three major categories emerged: impact of health conditions, incongruent perceptions, and the desire for independence. The focus of culturally appropriate interventions aimed at increasing physical activity for this group should incorporate activities that will help them remain independent, because weight loss is not a primary motivator.

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Ketra L. Armstrong

Sport managers and marketers strategically include individuals with specific characteristics as spokespersons in their persuasive communications (i.e., advertisements, promotional messages, development campaigns, and announcements) to appeal to and influence the attitudes and behaviors of their intended audience. This study was designed to examine African-American students’ responses to race (when moderated by the students' ethnic identification) as a salient characteristic of the person featured in a persuasive sport communication. It sought to examine the role of race in the communication process as: (a) a heuristic/peripheral cue for inducing message responses and evaluation, and (b) a variable that influenced the students' tendency to engage in biased or objective strategies to process the information presented. The results offer an illustration of how sociological variables such as race and ethnicity influence the communication process in general and the means of communicating sport related issues to African-American students in particular.

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Rebecca Kyryliuk, Meghan Baruth and Sara Wilcox

Background:

Understanding predictors of weight loss can assist in developing targeted evidence-based programs to reduce obesity in faith-based settings. The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of weight loss for a sample of African-American women taking part in in a church-based study.

Methods:

Participants (N = 350) completed physical assessments and comprehensive surveys at baseline and 15 months later. Analyses examined baseline variables and change in variables from baseline to posttest, as predictors of ≥ 5% weight loss at posttest. Demographic, health-related, and behavioral variables were examined.

Results:

Lower baseline stress predicted greater likelihood of weight loss. Increased leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) from baseline to posttest was predictive of greater weight loss. The odds of ≥ 5% weight loss was 38% lower for every 1-point increase in baseline stress (OR = 0.62, CI = 0.39, 0.98, P = .04) and 6% greater for every 1-hour increase in posttest LTPA (OR = 1.06, CI = 1.0, 1.12, P = .049).

Conclusions:

Increased LTPA appears to be an independent predictor of modest but meaningful reductions in weight among African-American women. African-American women reporting higher levels of stress at baseline may require more intense strategies emphasizing increased LTPA to lose weight.

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James M. Pivarnik, Wendell C. Taylor and Sharon S. Cummings

This study presents 3 years of data from a longitudinal study designed to follow changes in VO2max and treadmill (TM) exercise performance in African-American girls throughout middle school. Subjects (N = 19) were tested 6 months apart during grades 6-8. VO9 and heart rates (HR) were measured continuously while each subject performed an incremental TM test to volitional exhaustion. Absolute VO2max (ml • min1) increased with time, while relative (ml • kg 1 * min1) values declined significantly from 6th to 8th grade. Treadmill time to exhaustion improved after the first test, but showed a significant decline by the end of 8th grade. Correlations between fall 6th-grade and spring 8th-grade aerobic fitness measures ranged from .35 to .57, indicating moderate tracking of these variables throughout middle school. Aerobic fitness values are low (compared to Caucasians) in African-American adolescent girls and show significant declines throughout middle school. Future studies should investigate anatomical, physiological, and behavioral reasons for the apparently low aerobic fitness seen in African-American girls.