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This study examined 162 Division I-A intercollegiate athletes’ perceptions of the legitimacy of aggression in sport. Athletes in collision, contact, and noncontact sports completed the Sport Behavior Inventory (Conroy, Silva, Newcomer, Walker, & Johnson, in press). Overall, the athletes did not consider aggression legitimate. A 3 (sport type) x 2 (gender) ANOVA (alpha = .05) with post hoc comparisons showed that athletes in contact and noncontact sports scored lower than those in collision sports. Females scored lower than males. A significant interaction revealed a greater gender difference in noncontact sports than in collision or contact. In noncontact sports, gender role expectations could be the dominant influence for males, while role expectations and in-sport behavioral norms influence females. In collision and contact sports, in-sport norms could reinforce role expectations for males but encourage females to demonstrate behaviors inconsistent with traditional expectations.
The authors are with the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0248.