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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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Jae Kun Shim, Jeffrey Hsu, Sohit Karol and Ben F. Hurley

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of finger strength training (ST) on finger strength, independence, force control, and adaptations in multifinger coordination. Thirty-three healthy, young (23.0 ± 2.9 years) subjects were randomly assigned into 4 groups. Group 1 (G1) trained all fingers together, Group 2 (G2) trained individual fingers without restricting movements of the non-training fingers, and Group 3 (G3) trained individual fingers while restricting the movement of the nontraining fingers. The control group (G0) did not undergo any training. A vertically hanging load was attached to a spring that passed through a pulley. The other end of the string extended to the horizontal plane and had thimbles attached to it. Subjects were asked to rest their forearm on the table and lift the load by inserting their fingers into the thimbles. The training protocol lasted 6 weeks. Identical experimental tests were conducted 4 times, biweekly, across the 6-week training. Force coordination and moment coordination, defined as synergies stabilizing the resultant force and the resultant moment of all finger forces, in a multifinger pressing task were quantified using the Uncontrolled Manifold (UCM) analysis. The UCM analysis allocates motor variability into two components, one in the null space of a motor task and the other perpendicular to the null space. During multifinger pressing tasks, multifinger coordination exists when the variability in the null space is greater than the variability in the subspace perpendicular to the null space. The multifinger coordination was quantified as the difference between the variance within the null space and that perpendicular to the null space, normalized by the total variance. Thus, the coordination measure in our analysis is a unitless variable. A greater coordination measure indicates better multifinger coordination. Moment-stabilizing multifinger coordination increased only in G1 (from 1.197 ± 0.004 to 1.323 ± 0.002, p < .01), and force-stabilizing coordination increased only in G3 (from 0.207 ± 0.106 to 0.727 ± 0.071, p < .01). Finger strength, measured by the maximal voluntary finger force of pressing 4 fingers, increased significantly in all training groups (from 103.7 ± 3.1 N to 144.0 ± 3.6 N for training groups, all p < .001). Finger-force errors, quantified by the deviations between the required force profiles (20% maximal voluntary force) presented to the subjects and the actual force produced, decreased significantly with ST for all the training groups (all p < .05). Finger independence also decreased significantly for all the training groups (p < .05). We conclude that the neuromuscular system adaptations to multifinger ST are specific to the training protocol being employed, yielding improvements in different types of multifinger coordination (i.e., coordination-specific ST), finger-force control, and finger strength and a decrease in finger independence. Finger independence, depending on the nature of the task, might or might not be favorable to certain task performances. We suggest that ST protocol should be carefully designed for the improvement of specific coordination of multieffector motor systems.

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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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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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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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Rebecca L. Vivrette, Laurence Z. Rubenstein, Jennifer L. Martin, Karen R. Josephson and B. Josea Kramer

Objective:

To determine seniors’ beliefs about falls and design a fall-risk self-assessment and educational materials to promote early identification of evidence-based fall risks and encourage prevention behaviors.

Methods:

Focus groups with community-dwelling seniors, conducted in two phases to identify perceptions about fall risks and risk reduction and to assess face validity of the fall-risk self-assessment and acceptability of educational materials.

Results:

Lay perception of fall risks was in general concordance with evidence-based research. Maintaining independence and positive tone were perceived as key motivators for fall prevention. Seniors intended to use information in the educational tool to stimulate discussions about falls with health care providers.

Implications:

An evidence-based, educational fall-risk self-assessment acceptable to older adults can build on existing lay knowledge about fall risks and perception that falls are a relevant problem and can educate seniors about their specific risks and how to minimize them.

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Constantine Karteroliotis and Diane L. Gill

This study examined the relationships of cognitive worry, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence—all components of the CSAI-2 (Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2)—to each other, to physiological measures, and to motor performance prior to, during, and after competition. In addition, the prediction that only somatic anxiety increases prior to competition was examined. Forty-one undergraduate males competed in a motor task while the experimenter monitored heart rate and blood pressure responses. Each subject competed against a confederate for 10 experimental trials and completed the CSAI-2 prior to, during, and after the competition. The results confirmed the multidimensional nature of the state anxiety construct and provided evidence for the independence of cognitive worry and somatic anxiety. However, both dimensions followed similar temporal patterns prior to and during competition. Finally, the results confirmed the nonsignificant relationship between psychological and physiological measures of anxiety.

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L. Jerome Brandon, Lisa W. Boyette, Adreinne Lloyd and Deborah A. Gaasch

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a 24-month moderate-intensity resistive-training intervention on strength and function in older adults. A repeated-measures experimental research design was employed as a sample of 55 apparently healthy, older, community-dwelling volunteers (30 exercisers—25 women and 5 men; 25 comparisons—16 women and 9 men) were evaluated for strength of 5 muscle groups that influence lower extremity movement and physical function. Strength and function were evaluated at 6-month intervals. The findings from this study indicate that a moderate-intensity resistive-training program increases strength in older adults and that the strength benefits are retained for the duration of the intervention. Furthermore, a long-term strength-training program can increase independent-function skills in older adults and might therefore aid in prolonging functional independence.

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Dorothy J. Lovett and Carla D. Lowry

Two reasons given for the dramatic decline in the percentage of women coaches since the passage of Title IX have been the effectiveness of the “good old boys” network and the lack or ineffectiveness of the “good old girls” network. With homologous reproduction used as a theoretical basis for these networks, 1,106 public secondary schools were surveyed to determine their administrative structures based on the sex of the principals and the athletic directors. Two types of administrative structures were identified with four models under each type. The numbers of male and female head coaches in the girls' athletics program under each administrative structure were determined and analyzed for independence. Significant differences were found between the different administrative models and the gender of the head coaches. Findings are discussed in terms of the prevailing administrative structures and the representation of females in coaching as a result of the dominant group reproducing itself.

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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.