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Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon

This paper addresses the appropriate unit of analysis in field research. We first discuss the issues related to this topic: (a) unit of measurement versus unit of analysis, (b) treatments and random assignment, (c) independence of observations, (d) moderating and control variables, and (e) correlational versus experimental research. We then present a model for determining the correct unit of analysis. In many instances, researchers should use class means or subgroup means, and this has implications for research design. In the third section, we discuss the related issues of (a) the burden of proof, (b) asking the right questions and getting the right answers, and (c) completing statistical analyses. How data are analyzed can affect the results, and researchers should consider these issues when planning their research.

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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.

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Juliette Stebbings, Ian M. Taylor, Christopher M. Spray and Nikos Ntoumanis

Embedded in the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) framework, we obtained self-report data from 418 paid and voluntary coaches from a variety of sports and competitive levels with the aim of exploring potential antecedents of coaches’ perceived autonomy supportive and controlling behaviors. Controlling for socially desirable responses, structural equation modeling revealed that greater job security and opportunities for professional development, and lower work–life conflict were associated with psychological need satisfaction, which, in turn, was related to an adaptive process of psychological well-being and perceived autonomy support toward athletes. In contrast, higher work–life conflict and fewer opportunities for development were associated with a distinct maladaptive process of thwarted psychological needs, psychological ill-being, and perceived controlling interpersonal behavior. The results highlight how the coaching context may impact upon coaches’ psychological health and their interpersonal behavior toward athletes. Moreover, evidence is provided for the independence of adaptive and maladaptive processes within the self-determination theory paradigm.

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Ana I. Sousa, Rui Corredeira and Ana L. Pereira

This study reports on a comparison of how two different groups of people with an amputation view their bodies and perceive how others view them. One group has a history of sport participation, while the other has not. The analysis is based on 14 semistructured interviews with people with amputations: 7 were engaged in sport and 7 were not. The following themes emerged: Body, Prosthesis, Independence, Human Person, and Social Barriers. One could conclude that participation in sport influences how people with an amputation perceive their body as they live with their body in a more positive way and they better accept their new body condition and their being-in-the-world. The social barriers that people with an amputation have to face daily were evident, and one of the most significant ideas was the importance of being recognized and treated as a person and not as a person with a disability.

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Anne O. Brady, Chad R. Straight and Ellen M. Evans

The aging process leads to adverse changes in body composition (increases in fat mass and decreases in skeletal muscle mass), declines in physical function (PF), and ultimately increased risk for disability and loss of independence. Specific components of body composition or muscle capacity (strength and power) may be useful in predicting PF; however, findings have been mixed regarding the most salient predictor of PF. The development of a conceptual model potentially aids in understanding the interrelated factors contributing to PF with the factors of interest being physical activity, body composition, and muscle capacity. This article also highlights sex differences in these domains. Finally, factors known to affect PF, such as sleep, depression, fatigue, and self-efficacy, are discussed. Development of a comprehensive conceptual model is needed to better characterize the most salient factors contributing to PF and to subsequently inform the development of interventions to reduce physical disability in older adults.

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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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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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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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Aftab E. Patla and Anne Shumway-Cook

Mobility, the ability to move independently, is critical to maintaining independence and quality of life. Among older adults, mobility disability results when an individual cannot meet the demands of the environment. Current approaches to defining mobility rely on distance and time measures, or decompose mobility into subtasks (e.g., climbing, sit to stand), but provide limited understanding of mobility in the elderly. In this paper, a new conceptual framework identifies the critical environmental factors, or dimensions, that operationally define mobility within a given community, such as ambient conditions (light levels, weather conditions) and terrain characteristics (stairs, curbs). Our premise is that the environment and the individual conjointly determine mobility disability. Mobility in the elderly is defined not by the number of tasks a person can or cannot perform, but by the range of environmental contexts in which tasks can be safely carried out: the more disabled, the more restrictive the dimensions.