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Marni Brown, Erin Ruel and Stephanie Medley-Rath

In light of the increasing participation of girls/women in sport, we investigate the attitudes of high school boys and girls toward potential increased opportunities for girls’ to participate in sport. There has been little research on high school students’ attitudes toward girls’ sport participation decomposed by gender and athletic status. We find that, on average, high school students are supportive of increased opportunities for girls to participate in sport. Girls are more supportive than boys on average. While there is no difference among girls by athletic status, male competitive athletes show the most negative attitudes toward opportunities for girls to participate in sport compared with male noncompetitive athletes. Lastly, racial minority groups express positive attitudes toward increased opportunities for girls to participate in sport compared with whites.

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Kathleen E. Miller, Michael P. Farrell, Donald F. Sabo, Grace M. Barnes and Merrill J. Melnick

In this paper, we examine the relationships among athletic participation and sexual behavior, contraceptive use, and pregnancy in female and male high school students. Analyses of covariance and multiple analyses of covariance were performed on a nationally representative sample of 8,979 high school students (the 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). After controlling for race and ethnicity, age, and mother’s education, girls who participated in sports had lower rates of sexual experience, fewer sex partners, later age of first intercourse, higher rates of contraceptive use, and lower rates of past pregnancy than girls who did not participate. Male high school athletes reported higher rates of sexual experience and more partners than nonathletes, but—like their female counterparts—were also more likely to have used birth control during their most recent intercourse. Cultural resource theory suggests that athletic participation may reduce girls’ adherence to conventional cultural scripts while providing them with additional social and personal resources on which to draw in the sexual bargaining process. Sports provides boys with similar resources while strengthening their commitment to traditional masculine scripts.

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Sandra L. Gibbons, Viviene A. Temple and Louise Humbert

It is well documented that many young women become discontented with physical education in their high school years. The purpose of this investigation was to gain insight into the characteristics of nine senior elective physical education courses that were specifically designed to accommodate the needs and interests of female students. Data collection methods included focus group interviews with students; individual interviews with teachers; and analysis of course documents. The following themes are presented: (a) choice in what to learn and how to learn it; (b) all-female learning environment; (c) lifetime physical activities; (d) personalized assessment; and (e) responsive and flexible planning. Findings offer considerations for the development of physical education curricula that will gain and hold the interest of female high school students.

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Timothy J.L. Chandler and Alan D. Goldberg

The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived importance (salience) of the role-identity of scholar-athlete to high school students. A total of 1,255 students responded to a questionnaire entitled “A Survey of School Climates.” Males perceived obtaining high grades and achieving athletic success—the academic All-American—as most important, while females perceived getting high grades and being a member of the leading group as their most salient role-identities. The results of this study also suggest several potential sources for adolescent role conflict as well as a research methodology for examining the relationship between the adolescent value structure and indices of academic achievement, personal development, and psychological stress.

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Jennifer L. Fisette

The purpose of this study was to create an educational context in physical education to empower seven high school girls by giving them the opportunity to design, implement, and complete an action research project of their interest. Participants’ stories were told and voices heard through the development of informational products they dispersed among the student body. Specifically, the girls expressed that gender and embarrassment issues were barriers they encountered in physical education. As a result, they wanted to take action by learning how other high school students felt about these issues. This article examines my process as a reflexive researcher and the students’ process as participants and action researchers, as well as how various power hierarchies inherent in the educational structure both empowered and constrained the research.

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Jeffrey O. Segrave and Douglas N. Hastad

Although several studies have reported a negative association between interscholastic athletic participation and delinquent behavior, research has failed to take account of the social psychological processes underlying the relationship. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to analyze the dynamic processes underlying the relationship between participation in interscholastic athletics and delinquent behavior. The study evaluated the relative contribution of 12 socio-psychological variables in the etiology of delinquent behavior among male and female athletes and nonathletes. Of the total sample of 1,693 high school students, 788 (442 males and 346 females) were classified as athletes. Overall, the results indicated that a similar pattern persists in the etiology of delinquent behavior among male and female athletes and nonathletes. Several differences were also found in the etiology of delinquent behavior among male athletes and nonathletes, female athletes and nonathletes, and male and female athletes.

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Kathleen E. Miller, Grace M. Barnes, Don Sabo, Merrill J. Melnick and Michael P. Farrell

Contrary to popular assumption, adolescent anabolic-androgenic steroid use is not limited to serious male athletes. This paper examines the relationships among gender, athletic participation, and health-related problem behaviors among adolescent steroid users. Regression analyses were performed on a nationally representative sample of over 16,000 high school students (the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior Survey), of whom nearly 500 had used steroids. Compared to nonusers, steroid users were significantly more likely to report substance use, suicidal behavior, and sexual risk-taking; however, patterns of risk behavior varied by the user’s athletic status and gender. After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, and parental education, both athletic participation and female gender were negatively associated with most risk behaviors among users of anabolic steroids.

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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.

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Gabriele Wulf, Sebastian Wächter and Stefan Wortmann

Recently, researchers in the motor learning area have shown that instructions to direct the learner’s attention to their body movements (i.e., induce an internal focus) – such as those typically used in applied settings – are less effective than instructions directing attention to the movement effects (i.e., inducing an external focus). Under the assumption that females tend to be more concerned about performing a movement correctly than males, who might be more inclined to focus on the outcome of their actions, the purpose of the present study was to examine whether females would benefit more from external-focus instructions than males. Female and male high-school students practiced a soccer instep kick with instructions that either induced an internal or external focus of attention. Subsequent retention (stationary ball) and transfer (moving ball) tests without instructions were performed to assess learning. The female group that was given internal-focus instructions during practice showed a greater performance decrement from retention to transfer than all other groups. This provides support for the view that the type of attentional focus induced by instructions might be particularly relevant for females, and that females might show greater learning advantages when provided with external-focus instructions.

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Molly Yanity and Aimee C. Edmondson

Coverage of the recruitment of high school athletes has exploded in the last decade as the advent of the Internet turned a once-obscure type of coverage into a multimillion-dollar industry. The demand for information about college football recruits has led to new ethical challenges for Web-based publications. This survey of sport media identifies some of the ethical challenges associated with such coverage and proposes a code of ethics for Web-based media outlets. Media covering high school recruiting can use these guidelines to gain and maintain credibility, to uphold a high level of ethics, and to avoid restrictions or rules mandated by an outside source in a specialized beat where high school students are the primary subjects.