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Mary B. Harris and Joy Griffin

In order to assess their cultural stereotypes and personal beliefs about women physical education teachers, we surveyed 196 individuals attending the 1995 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) convention. Respondents felt that most Americans stereotyped women physical educators as masculine, aggressive, athletic, lesbian, and unintellectual. Their personal views were less extreme. Some differences in personal beliefs were found between men and women, and between lesbians, heterosexual men and heterosexual women. Occupation, age, and education were not importantly related to stereotyping. Open ended questions revealed both positive and negative aspects of physical education as a profession for women. Based upon the continued existence of some negative stereotypes, coupled with the low status of women physical educators, we suggest that the profession needs to increase its educational efforts and its appreciation of diversity.

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Kevin S. Masters and Benjamin M. Ogles

Association and dissociation (A/D) have been identified as important cognitive strategies in the literature on running and exercise. This paper is a comprehensive review of the 20 years of research in the area. Specific topics addressed include historical context, definition and terminology considerations, measurement and design issues, and findings as they pertain to performance, injury, and pain. Several research recommendations are made including change from using the term dissociation, use of multiple measurement methods, diversity of research designs, and study of topics, such as injury, exercise adherence, and emotionality, as they relate to A/D. Finally, practical findings indicate that association relates to faster performance, dissociation relates to lower perceived exertion and possibly greater endurance, and dissociation is not related to injury but association may be.

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Diane L. Gill

Feminist sport psychology encompasses many approaches and has many variations. The articles in this special issue reflect that variation but also reflect common themes outlined in this introductory article. The feminist framework for this article begins with bell hooks’ (2000) inclusive, action-oriented definition of feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression” (p. viii). The following themes, drawn from feminist theory and sport studies scholarship, provide the supporting structure: (a) gender is relational rather than categorical; (b) gender is inextricably linked with race/ethnicity, class, and other social identities; (c) gender and cultural relations involve power and privilege; and (d) feminism demands action. Gender scholarship in sport psychology is reviewed noting recent moves toward feminist approaches and promising directions that incorporate cultural diversity and relational analyses to move toward feminist practice. The other articles in this issue reflect similar feminist themes and present unique contributions to guide us toward feminist sport psychology.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Paul J. Carpenter, Jeffery P. Simons, Greg W. Schmidt and Bruce Keeler

This article presents our progress in developing a set of survey measures to assess constructs of the Sport Commitment Model in the youth-sport domain. Initial item development was accomplished through extensive literature reviews and the expert evaluations of research professionals, teachers, and young athletes. The items were then examined empirically with three separate samples numbering 140, 178, and 1342 athletes, respectively. For the first two samples, items formed reliable scales for each of the model constructs and separated into distinct factors largely as hypothesized. For the third sample, structural-equation modeling was employed and results supported the measurement of four constructs, with the other two constructs held from the measurement model because of item limitations. Overall, results of the three samples indicate reliable measures that can be used in tests of the Sport Commitment Model across samples of youth-sport athletes representing diversity in age, gender, and ethnicity.

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Barry D. McPherson

With the aging of the population, an increasing sex ratio of women to men, the potential for increased disability-free life expectancy, and increasing health-care costs, health promotion and physical activity personnel engaged in research, policy, or practice need a full understanding of the physical, cultural, and social context in which consecutive age cohorts move through life. This paper integrates research information from health promotion, the physical activity sciences, social gerontology, and demography; it is divided into six sections focusing on demographic and cultural diversity, the cultural meaning of physical activity, active lifestyles, catalysts and barriers to the emergence of an active older population, and promoting lifelong active living. Employing a macro (societal) rather than a micro (individual) level of analysis, the paper emphasizes that aging is a lifelong social process leading to diverse lifestyles in middle and later adulthood, that there is considerable heterogeneity in physical and social experiences and capacities within and between age cohorts, and that aging is a women’s issue, particularly with respect to health and activity promotion.

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Andrea Torres, John Steward, Sheryl Strasser, Rodney Lyn, Rebecca Serna and Christine Stauber

Background:

Open Streets are community-based programs that promote the use of public space for physical activity (PA), recreation and socialization by closing streets temporarily to motorized vehicles, allowing access to pedestrians. The city of Atlanta hosted its first Open Streets event, Atlanta Streets Alive (ASA), in May 2010. An evaluation of the first 5 ASA events from May 2010 to May 2012 was conducted. The purpose was to learn about the characteristics of ASA participants, the influence of the event on their PA, and perceptions of safety and neighborhood social capital.

Methods:

ASA’s evaluation had 2 components: participant counts and a participant survey. Characteristics of participation were compared among the 3 different events in which surveys were conducted using the Pearson χ2 test and F test as appropriate.

Results:

The estimated participation at ASA increased from nearly 3,500 (ASA 1 to 4) to 12,520 (ASA 5). The number of events increased to 3 per year for a total of 10 events until 2014. Overall, 19.4% of participants met the weekly PA recommendation during 1 event.

Conclusions:

The expanding diversity of routes, participants, and sponsorships highlights the potential promise such programming offers in terms of establishing an urban culture of health.

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Diane K. King, Peg Allen, Dina L. Jones, David X. Marquez, David R. Brown, Dori Rosenberg, Sarah Janicek, Laila Allen and Basia Belza

Background:

Midlife and older adults use shopping malls for walking, but little research has examined mall characteristics that contribute to their walkability.

Methods:

We used modified versions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Healthy Aging Research Network (HAN) Environmental Audit and the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) tool to systematically observe 443 walkers in 10 shopping malls. We also observed 87 walkers in 6 community-based nonmall/nongym venues where older adults routinely walked for physical activity.

Results:

All venues had public transit stops and accessible parking. All malls and 67% of nonmalls had wayfinding aids, and most venues (81%) had an established circuitous walking route and clean, well-maintained public restrooms (94%). All venues had level floor surfaces, and one-half had benches along the walking route. Venues varied in hours of access, programming, tripping hazards, traffic control near entrances, and lighting.

Conclusions:

Despite diversity in location, size, and purpose, the mall and nonmall venues audited shared numerous environmental features known to promote walking in older adults and few barriers to walking. Future research should consider programmatic features and outreach strategies to expand the use of malls and other suitable public spaces for walking.

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Lanay M. Mudd, Jim M. Pivarnik, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Nigel Paneth, Hwan Chung and Claudia Holzman

Background:

We sought to evaluate the effects of maternal leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy and current child LTPA on child weight status.

Methods:

Women with term pregnancies in the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health Study (1998–2004) were followed-up. A race-stratified subset of participants (cohort A) received extensive follow-up efforts leading to better response rates (592/926 = 64%) and diversity. The remainder (Cohort B) had a lower response rate (418/1629 = 26%). Women reported child height, weight and LTPA at 3 to 9 years (inactive vs. active), and recalled pregnancy LTPA (inactive vs. active). A 4-category maternal/child LTPA variable was created (reference: active pregnancy + active child). Children were classified as healthy weight, overweight, or obese using age- and sex-specific Body Mass Index percentiles. Logistic regression was used to assess the odds of child obesity (reference: healthy weight).

Results:

In unadjusted analyses, pregnancy inactivity increased odds for obesity when the child was active (1.6 [95% CI, 1.0−2.6] in Cohort A; 2.1 [95% CI, 1.1−4.0] in Cohort B), and more so when the child was inactive (2.4 [95% CI, 1.2−4.9] in Cohort A; 3.0 [95% CI, 1.0−8.8] in Cohort B). Adjustment for covariates attenuated results to statistical nonsignificance but the direction of relations remained.

Conclusions:

Maternal inactivity during pregnancy may contribute to child obesity risk.

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Kelli L. Cain, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Delfien Van Dyck and Lynn Calhoon

Background:

In 2005, investigators convened by the National Cancer Institute recommended development of standardized protocols for accelerometer use and reporting decision rules in articles. A literature review was conducted to document accelerometer methods and decision rule reporting in youth physical activity articles from 2005−2010.

Methods:

Nine electronic databases identified 273 articles that measured physical activity and/or sedentary behavior using the most-used brand of accelerometer (ActiGraph). Six key methods were summarized by age group (preschool, children, and adolescents) and trends over time were examined.

Results:

Studies using accelerometers more than doubled from 2005−2010. Methods included 2 ActiGraph models, 6 epoch lengths, 6 nonwear definitions, 13 valid day definitions, 8 minimum wearing day thresholds, 12 moderate-intensity physical activity cut points, and 11 sedentary cut points. Child studies showed the most variation in methods and a trend toward more variability in cut points over time. Decision rule reporting improved, but only 54% of papers reported on all methods.

Conclusion:

The increasing diversity of methods used to process and score accelerometer data for youth precludes comparison of results across studies. Decision rule reporting is inconsistent, and trends indicate declining standardization of methods. A methodological research agenda and consensus process are proposed.

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Bik C. Chow

The purpose of the research was to study the transitional experiences of elite female athletes who are going through the process of athletic retirement. Using a life history approach, six former and six current athletes in Hong Kong were interviewed. Semi-structured interviews were utilized based on the Schlossberg’s (1981, 1984) transition model. Data were analyzed using typology and constant comparison methods. Diversity and commonality in the experiences of women withdrawing from elite sports competition were found. The life history approach was effective in illustrating the ways in which Hong Kong female athletes feel and think about career end, with a transition from competition to retirement evident as part of career passing. Content analysis of interviews revealed several salient themes related to sports retirement. Key distinctions across projected and experienced retirement were associated with a woman’s being an immigrant athlete, entering early into sport, and pursuing an education. Athlete status also affected transition to retirement and lifestyle after an elite sports career.