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Garry D. Wheeler

The biological area of adapted physical activity research has traditionally been dominated by the positivist or rational empirical paradigm, or the scientific method. Underlying assumptions of the inquirer and inquired’s objectivity and independence have generated much criticism. Researchers have argued that the scientific method produces an impoverished view of reality and that claims to an objective and value-free stance are ideological and mythical. Critique of rational-empiricism, the scientific method, present science, or the received-view may be understood at three levels: intraparadigmatic, extraparadigmatic, and intramethod. Dr. Shephard (1998) addresses the latter in his paper and as such, his is a method-based approach. A methodological analysis, however, requires examining the underlying tacit assumptions of the scientific method. In this paper, critique of the scientific method is offered and justification of the critique examined. Proposed alternatives include an expansionist view of research, inclusion of subjective elements, triangulated designs, and empowerment of subjects.

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Luke I. Macris and Michael P. Sam

With growing governmental involvement in sport, there has been a corresponding demand on national sport organizations (NSOs) to operate within performance measurement systems. In this study, we analyze data from New Zealand to determine NSO officials’ perceptions of (a) their reporting relationship with the central agency (Sport and Recreation New Zealand), and (b) the system of performance contracts (or “investment schedules”). Following Norman (2002), we found differing perceptions regarding the legitimacy of performance systems and three tensions emerged. First, the clarity of focus enabled by performance measurement was tempered by the perception of an ever-changing political environment. Second, NSO officials acted strategically and opportunistically at times, marshalling arguments around performance measures to “capture” their principal. Third, neither trust nor distrust in the system necessarily translated into compliance; some NSOs sought independence from the system. This research speaks to the legitimacy of performance systems, a significant but tenuous element to their sustainability.

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Janet B. Parks and Michael E. Bartley

Scholarship expectations of many universities in the United States are becoming more stringent. The purpose of this study was to examine variables associated with the scholarship of the sport management professoriate. The participants were 266 of the 422 academics in the NASPE-NASSM Sport Management Program List (1991). Chi-square tests of independence (alpha < .004) revealed slight tendencies for (a) younger faculty to have doctorates in areas such as sport management, psychology/sociology of sport, and legal aspects of sport rather than in physical education; (b) younger faculty to have more publications than older faculty; (c) women to be concentrated in the lower ranks and salary ranges; and (d) movement toward gender parity in rank and salary. This study should be replicated in 5 years to discover if these tendencies were precursors of trends.

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Kenon A. Brown, Simon Ličen, Andrew C. Billings and Michael B. Devlin

Given Slovenia’s independence in 1991, examining the potential impact of Olympic media consumption on this young nation offers a unique opportunity for scholarly investigation. Prior examinations of Olympic telecasts in Slovenia have uncovered core elements of nationalized pride and focus (Ličen & Billings, 2013a), yet have not fully explored the potential effect of the mass viewership found within the Olympics. This study explores how social cognitive and social identification theories interact to influence consumption behaviors relating to international competition—in this case, the Olympics. For this study, 175 respondents were surveyed to examine the relationship among personal determinants defined by one’s national identity, Olympic fan involvement, and behaviors related to Olympic media consumption. Findings revealed that basic identification with Slovenia as a nation, and a need to defend Slovenia when faced with discouraging opinions, influenced one’s fan involvement with the Olympics, which in turn influenced digital and televisual media consumption.

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Edward Albert

The subculture of bicycle racing provides a situation in which the relationship between formal rules and dominant sport ideologies, and the taken-for-granted informal structures produced by athletes during competition, may be observed. Ethnographic and interview data suggest that such structures as pelotons and pacelines create both the opportunity for and the requirement of cooperative efforts between opponents, standing in stark contrast to more conventional conceptions of sport in which only unambiguous conflict between competitors is seen as legitimate. Here the informal norms of cooperation are central to insider definitions of the social order and are accompanied by strong sanctions for noncompliance. This cooperative informal order is seen as especially problematic for novices, as it diverges from widely held beliefs in the independence of competing units and the importance of overcoming opponents through maximum individual effort. Media coverage of the sport, in disregarding cooperative efforts, both creates and perpetuates erroneous stereotypes, making socialization into the sport more difficult.

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Bonnie Field, Tom Cochrane, Rachel Davey and Yohannes Kinfu

The aim of this study was to identify determinants of walking and whether walking maintained mobility among women as they transition from their mid-70s to their late 80s. We used 12 years of follow-up data (baseline 1999) from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (n = 10,322). Fifteen determinants of walking were included in the analysis and three indicators of mobility. Longitudinal data analyses techniques were employed. Thirteen of the 15 determinants were significant predictors of walking. Women in their mid-70s who walked up to 1 hr per week were less likely to experience loss of mobility in very old age, including reduced likelihood of using a mobility aid. Hence, older women who do no walking should be encouraged to walk to maintain their mobility and their independence as they age, particularly women in their 70s and 80s who smoke, are overweight, have arthritis, or who have had a recent fall.

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Joseph F. Signorile, David Sandler, Fangchao Ma, Steve Bamel, Damian Stanziano, Wes Smith, Bernard A. Roos and Lauran Sandals

This study examined the validity, reliability, and discriminatory capacity of the gallon-jug shelf-transfer (GJST) test. Six hundred fifty-three independent-living older adults (463 women age 72.9 ± 7.0 years, 190 men age 74.3 ± 6.7 years) participated. Participants moved five 1-gallon jugs (≈3.9 kg) from a knee-high to a shoulder-high shelf as quickly as possible. The GJST showed an exponential performance decline with age, and there were significant correlations between the GJST and common functional tests (p < .001). High within-day and between-days reliability was detected. The test also detected differences resulting from training status (p < .01) and training protocols (p < .05). The GJST is a valid, reliable, inexpensive, safe, and easily administered clinical test for identifying physically vulnerable elders who could benefit from interventions such as exercise to improve their physical capacities and maintain independence.

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Melissa Daly, Meghan E. Vidt, Joel D. Eggebeen,, W. Greg Simpson, Michael E. Miller, Anthony P. Marsh and Katherine R. Saul

Aging leads to a decline in strength and an associated loss of independence. The authors examined changes in muscle volume, maximum isometric joint moment, functional strength, and 1-repetition maximum (1RM) after resistance training (RT) in the upper extremity of older adults. They evaluated isometric joint moment and muscle volume as predictors of functional strength. Sixteen healthy older adults (average age 75 ± 4.3 yr) were randomized to a 6-wk upper extremity RT program or control group. The RT group increased 1RM significantly (p < .01 for all exercises). Compared with controls, randomization to RT led to greater functional pulling strength (p = .003), isometric shoulder-adduction moment (p = .041), elbow-flexor volume (p = .017), and shoulder-adductor volume (p = .009). Shoulder-muscle volumes and isometric moments were good predictors of functional strength. The authors conclude that shoulder strength is an important factor for performing functional reaching and pulling tasks and a key target for upper extremity RT interventions.

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Joanna L. Morrissey, Phyllis J. Wenthe, Elena M. Letuchy, Steven M. Levy and Kathleen F. Janz

In a sample of 291 adolescents (mean age 13 yr), seven psychosocial factors, including family support, were examined in relation to accelerometry-derived physical activity (PA) measured after school and during the weekend. Gender-specific stepwise linear regression analyses determined which combinations of factors explained the variance in nonschool moderate to vigorous PA and nonschool total PA after adjusting for % BF, age, and maturity (p ≤ 0.05). Being praised by a family member and % BF explained 13% of the variance in female nonschool MVPA, while being praised and maturity explained 13% of the variance in nonschool total PA. Having a family member watch him participate, % BF, and age explained 11.5% of the variance in male nonschool MVPA, while having a family member participate with him explained 6.4% of the variance in nonschool total PA. Despite adolescents’ growing independence, family support continues to influence PA levels.

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Christie L. Ward, Rudy J. Valentine and Ellen M. Evans

Adiposity, lean mass, and physical activity (PA) are known to influence physical function in older adults, although the independent influences are not completely characterized. Older adults (N = 156, M age = 68.9 ± 6.7 yr, 85 men) were assessed for body composition via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, PA by accelerometer, and physical function via timed up-and-go (UP&GO), 30-s chair stand, 6-min walk (6-min WALK), and Star-Excursion Balance Test. In the absence of percentage-body-fat by PA interactions (p > .05), main effects existed such that a higher percentage body fat was associated with poorer performance in UP&GO, 30-s chair stand, and 6-min WALK (p < .05). No significant main effects were found for PA and functional performance. Adiposity explains 4.6–11.4% in physical functional variance (p < .05). Preventing increases in adiposity with age may help older adults maintain functional independence.