This article presents and examines a number of critical issues facing male psychology consultants when working with female athletes. It focuses on potential problems associated with cross-sex consulting in sport psychology, including such topics as developing and maintaining a professional relationship, ethics, range of services provided, and delivery of services. Ethical issues of cross-sex consulting are discussed and include sexual relationships, dependency, bonding, and the father figure syndrome. A brief section of this article provides insights on how to be effective in cross-sex consulting. Finally, a number of practical guidelines are provided on how males can become effective sport psychology consultants to female athletes.
Christine Voss and Gavin R. H. Sandercock
Parental behavior is an important correlate of child health. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between perceived parental physical activity (PA) and schoolchildren’s aerobic fitness.
English schoolchildren’s (n = 4029, 54% boys, 10.0−15.9 yrs) fitness was assessed by 20 m shuttle run test and categorized using criterion-referenced standards. Parental PA was reported by the child.
Boys and girls were more likely to be fit (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1−1.8; OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1−2.0; respectively) if at least 1 parent was perceived as active compared with when neither parents were. Girls were even more likely to be fit (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2−2.8) if both parents were active. Associations between parental PA and child fitness were generally stronger when parent and child were of the same gender, although girls with active fathers were more likely (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.7−3.7) to be fit compared with inactive fathers.
Schoolchildren perceiving at least 1 parent as active are more likely to meet health-related fitness standards. Underlying mechanisms remain elusive, but same-gender associations suggest that social rather than genetic factors are of greater importance. Targeting parental PA or at least perceptions of parental PA should be given consideration in interventions aiming to improve child health.
Kristen Holm, Holly Wyatt, James Murphy, James Hill and Lorraine Odgen
This study examined the association between parent and child change in physical activity during a family-based intervention for child weight gain prevention.
Daily step counts were recorded for parents and children in 83 families given a goal to increase activity by 2000 steps per day above baseline. Linear mixed effects models were used to predict child change in daily step counts from parental change in step counts.
Both maternal (P < .0001) and paternal (P < .0001) change in step counts for the current day strongly predicted child change in step counts for that day. On average, a child took an additional 2117.6 steps above baseline on days his or her mother met her goal versus 1175.2 additional steps when the mother did not meet her goal. The respective values were 1598.0 versus 1123.1 steps for fathers. Day of week moderated the maternal effect (P = .0019), with a larger impact on Saturday and Sunday compared with weekdays. A similar but nonsignificant pattern was observed for fathers.
Encouraging parents to increase physical activity, particularly on weekends, may be a highly effective way to leverage parental involvement in interventions to increase children’s physical activity.
Gavin Abbott, Jill Hnatiuk, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon, Keren Best and Kylie D. Hesketh
Parental modeling has been shown to be important for school-aged children’s physical activity (PA) and television (TV) viewing, yet little is known about its impact for younger children. This study examined cross-sectional and 3-year longitudinal associations between PA and TV viewing behaviors of parents and their preschool children.
In 2008–2009 (T1), parents in the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) cohort study (n = 450) in Melbourne, Australia, self-reported their weekly PA and TV viewing and proxy-reported their partner’s PA and TV viewing and their 3- to 5-year-old preschool child’s TV viewing. Children’s PA was assessed via accelerometers. Repeat data collection occurred in 2011–2012 (T2).
Mothers’ and fathers’ PAs were associated with PA among preschool girls at T1, but not boys. Parents’ TV viewing times were significant correlates of girls’ and boys’ TV viewing at T1. Longitudinally, mothers’ PA at baseline predicted boys’ PA at T2, whereas sex-specific associations were found for TV viewing, with mothers’ and fathers’ TV viewing at T1 associated with girls’ and boys’ TV viewing respectively at T2.
The PA and TV viewing of both parents are significantly associated with these behaviors in preschool children. The influence of the sex-matched parent appears to be important longitudinally for children’s TV viewing.
Risto Telama, Lauri Laakso, Heimo Nupponen, Arja Rimpelä and Lasse Pere
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between youth physical activity and family socioeconomic status (FSES) over 28 years. As a part of the Finnish Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey a random sample of 12-, 15- and 18-year-old boys and girls participated in a nation-wide survey by answering questions every second year, from 1977 to 2005, on, among other things, leisure time physical activity and sport participation. Father’s education represented FSES. The results showed that there were no significant or only small differences between the high and low FSES groups in unorganised physical activity during the study period. Participation in physical activities organized by the school was not associated with FSES. Participation in youth sport organized by sport clubs was strongly associated with FSES in both sexes. The young people in the high FSES groups participated more than those in the low FSES groups. It was concluded that considerable inequality exists in youth sport participation, that this inequality has been growing during the last decade, and that it is bigger among girls than among boys.
Cynthia A. Hasbrook
This study proposed and tested a theoretical explanation of how social class background influences sport participation. Two theoretical constructs of social class were operationalized within the context of sport participation and tested to determine how well they explained the social class-sport participation link: life chances/economic opportunity set (the distribution of material goods and services), and life-styles/social psychological opportunity set (values, beliefs, and practices). Life chances consisted of the availability and usage of sport equipment, facilities or club memberships, and instruction. Life-styles consisted of selected parental achievement and gender role expectations that encourage, fail to encourage, or discourage sport participation. Social class background was determined by father’s occupation as ranked in the Duncan Socioeconomic Index. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to a stratified random sample of high school students, with some questionnaires eliminated to control for cultural and/or racial differences and variation in parental influence. The construct validity of the instrument was supported by factor analytic results. The test-retest reliability of the questionnaire was r = .956. Partial correlation analyses revealed that while individual life chances/economic opportunity set variables explained a greater portion of the relationship between sport participation and social class background than did the individual variables of life-styles/social psychological opportunity set, a combination of all three economic opportunity set variables and two social-psychological opportunity set variables accounted for more than 50% of the relationship between sport and class.
Kylie Hesketh, Melissa Graham and Elizabeth Waters
This study investigated children’s after-school activity and associations with body mass index (BMI) and family circumstance. One thousand two hundred thirty-four parents and 854 children (age 8–13 years) completed activity diaries for the 2 hours after school. Parents reported children as more active than children reported themselves. Boys were reported to be more active than girls. Activity levels were generally not associated with BMI or family circumstance with the exception of cultural background. Parent-reported mean child METs were higher for mothers born in Australia (3.3 vs. 3.0; p = .02). Child-reported mean METs were higher for fathers born in Australia (2.9 vs. 2.6; p = .04) and where English was their main language (2.9 vs. 2.3, p = .003).
Jack Martin and David Cox
A recently developed social psychological and biographical approach to the study of lives, life positioning analysis (LPA), is applied to the early life experiences of Canadian basketball player Steve Nash for the purpose of identifying sources of his athletic creativity and work ethic. The analysis focuses on Nash’s childhood and adolescence, especially his interactions with his father, brother, coaches, friends, and teammates. The interpretations, results, and conclusions offered describe specific types of interaction with these other individuals as likely influences on the development of important psychological aspects of the team oriented creativity that came to characterize Nash’s unique athletic style. The article concludes with a brief description of the unique yields and possible contributions of this type of biographical case study as a methodological approach in sport psychology.
Deborah L. Feltz, Cathy D. Lirgg and Richard R. Albrecht
Eighteen elite young distance runners were followed over a 5-year period and examined on their perceptions of parental involvement, commitment, anxiety, and sources of worry as these variables pertained to their competitive running. Results showed that the runners received good parental support and possessed a relatively high level of commitment to running, but that both parental involvement and commitment declined over the 5 years. Fathers were seen as being more involved in their children’s running than mothers were. Also, females were somewhat more committed to running than males were. Males and females exhibited similar anxiety scores and these scores did not increase significantly over time. There was no evidence that these runners suffered excessive anxiety.
Alison M. McMinn, Esther M.F. van Sluijs, Niels Wedderkopp, Karsten Froberg and Simon J. Griffin
Cross-sectional associations between sociocultural factors and objectively-measured physical activity in a sample of 397 children (aged 9) and 213 adolescents (aged 15) were investigated. Associations with children’s physical activity were found for mothers’ physical activity (β=80,p < .01), parental participation (β=67,p = .01), mother’s age (β=−8,p < .01) and, in girls, fathers’ physical activity (β=73, p = .045; R2 for final model: 10.6%). No sociocultural factors were significantly associated with adolescents’ physical activity. Parental factors might be important targets for interventions to increase children’s physical activity but other factors may have greater influence. For adolescents’ physical activity, factors from other domains may be more important to target.