Physical Activities and Their Relation to Physical Education: A 200-Year Perspective and Future Challenges

Submitted by Suzanne Lundvall and Peter Schantz.

The Sport Journal normally doesn’t publish articles that have appeared in other publications previously, but the entry below is an exception to this rule. We at The Sport Journal feel the views expressed in this article are important enough to republish for our valued readers.

Abstract
In this macrolevel overview, a model of the multiplicity of the field of bodily movement cultures is initially presented. The model is then used to illuminate how different bodily movement practices emerged over time, became embedded, remained, faded, or disappeared in the world’s oldest physical education teacher education (PETE) program. Through this continuity and discontinuity of practices, five distinct phases are identified, although sometimes intertwined, and their contextual background is described. The first phase is characterized by the establishment of Ling gymnastics from the early 19th century and by its fall in the 20th century. The next phase started in the late 19th century and dealt with the introduction of sports and outdoor life. During a third phase, sports became the dominating movement practice. The fourth phase is related to the rise and fall of a separate female gymnastics culture during the 20th century. The fifth phase is characterized by the introduction of everyday life physical activities at the beginning of the new millennium. The overview is followed by reflections on the future content of bodily movement practices and sought-after values in PETE and physical education in the school system.

Introduction
The content of physical education (PE) programs in schools for children and young people is under debate globally. This is not new. PE has had an ongoing battle concerning how to gain the greatest and longest benefits for mind and body since it was established at the beginning of the 19th century (Pfister, 2003). These conflicts have been noted between cultures and nations, representing different points of view about the legitimate agenda of physical education, but conflicts have also been noted within nations and educational institutions (Kirk, 2010; Korsgaard, 1989; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003; Morgan, 2006; Pfister, 2003; Schantz, 2009; Schantz & Nilsson, 1990). In the authors’ view, good reasons exist to continue this debate in our time. For this purpose, a model of the multiplicity of the field of physical activity cultures is presented. It is offered as a supportive and clarifying structure for identifying, discussing, and making future PE content decisions.

To illuminate these issues, the model is used in a macrolevel overview, illustrating changes in values and practices within the oldest still existing physical education teacher education (PETE) program in the world, that is, The Royal Gymnastic Central Institute (GCI), now named The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH). Apart from studies based on empirical data from this PETE institution, the overview also makes use of international literature on physical culture and health.

Thus, this article focuses on PETE, a less examined area when it comes to how new concepts of bodily movement practices have emerged, become embedded in programs and local
practices, remained, faded, or disappeared because they were not “legitimate” or were of less value or for other reasons (e.g., Annerstedt, 1991; Fernandez, 2009; Kirk & Macdonald, 2001; Kirk, Macdonald, & Tinning, 1997; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). Proceeding from these basic concepts, the final aim of this article is to reflect and discuss the present-day situation in relation to principles for bodily movement practices and sought-after values for PETE. This discussion will include tensions and disagreements on content issues and future challenges for PETE and school PE.

Theoretical Framework
The theoretical departure point is inspired by the work of Bourdieu. The analytical focus has been placed on how deliberate forms of bodily movement practices in the studied PETE program came to be defined and regulated through meaning-making principles or the logic of practices (Bourdieu, 1984, 1990; Engström, 2008). Over time, the chosen bodily movement practices have created tensions in terms of power and control over what has been seen as legitimate in the educational sector of physical activity and body culture. This departure point also makes it possible to study how aspects of investment and intrinsic values have been put forward and have been related to views on body and health.

The Educational Field of Physical Activity Practices: A Model
A model has been developed to illustrate the multiplicity of different forms of deliberate bodily movement practices with distinctly different meaning-making principles (logic of practices; Figure 1). It also considers the construction of gender. It is based on a similar model first described by Schantz and Nilsson (1990) and relates to an educational context in Sweden. However, it can also be easily adjusted to conditions in other countries. The different principles for bodily movement practices are spatially oriented in the model in relation to the rationality underpinning each practice. Sport activities, based on the logic of competition, are placed in the traditionally male-dominated domain. Aesthetic and expressive forms of physical activities, such as artistic forms of dance, are placed in the traditionally female-dominated domain. Ling gymnastics, fitness gymnastics, play, outdoor life, and everyday life physical activities are placed in a traditionally gender-neutral position in the middle of the model. None of these forms of movement practices are underpinned by measurement/competition or driven by aesthetics and expressiveness. Enhancement of different physical qualities through physical training can support the conduct of all movement practices in the model. Basic forms of physical training are therefore placed at the bottom of the model, with arrows signaling their possible supportive nature for all other movement practices. Physical activities that are related to different types of professions are not given a place in this model.

Figure 1. A Model of the Field of Physical Activity Practices (modified from Schantz &
Nilsson, 1990)

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Continuity and Discontinuity of Bodily Movement Practices Over Time
A general description is given below of how the model can be used to illuminate the relative amount of time devoted to different movement practices during different time periods. In this way, a flow of continuity and discontinuity emerges. Different distinct phases are noted. This primarily visual description is followed by a text elaborating contextual factors of importance for understanding the changes described.

From 1813 to 1900, Ling gymnastics was developed and dominated the movement practices, and a fundamental principle was the schooling of body and character (Figure 2). From 1900 to 1960, sports were gradually introduced and thereby the logic of competition. PETE also started to involve outdoor life with the main goal of experiencing nature. For this purpose, physical activities such as orienteering and skiing became part of the educational program. Female PETE education developed a gymnastics discourse of its own, with influences from dance, rhythmic, and aesthetics. Thus, different and gender-related dimensions of movement practices became represented. Alongside this, new forms of physical training, particularly circuit training and aerobic conditioning, were brought in and signaled a logic of training solely for an investment value (Figure 3). During the period from 1960 to 1980, the elements of Ling gymnastics generally faded away but left a space for fitness gymnastics, and at the beginning, this was divided for men and women. Sport dominated as a movement practice, and fitness training within the area of gymnastics increased. The position for outdoor life activities remained stable (Figure 4). From 1980 to 2000 the separate female gymnastic discourse ended as an unintended consequence of a coeducational reform. Sport as a movement practice dominated and became the primary rationale for PETE. Fitness gymnastics was available for male and female students.Outdoor life held its position (Figure 5). From 2000 and onward, everyday life physical activity
emerged with its fundamental principle of an investment value in health. In other ways, there was no fundamental change compared to the previous period (Figure 6).

Figure 2. Bodily movement practice in PETE from 1813 to 1900. Ling gymnastics was developed and established. It represented the content in male and female PETE (where female PETE was established in 1864; cf. Drakenberg et al., 1913). This is indicated by the gray field, which signifies teaching time allocation to this specific bodily movement practice.

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Figure 3. Bodily movement practices in PETE from 1900 to 1960. Male and female gymnastics, indicated as boxes with horizontal and diagonal lines, respectively, developed in different directions. In the 1950s, new forms of physical training appeared. The sizes of the gray fields represent an approximate relative balance between time allocated to different physical activity practices at the latter part of the time period (cf. Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003; Tolgfors, 1979). The years indicated as the beginning and end of the period should be read as approximate indications of time.

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Figure 4. Bodily movement practices in PETE from 1960 to 1980, with a shift toward more time being allocated for sports and a gradual shift away from Ling gymnastics toward fitness gymnastics (cf. Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003; Tolgfors, 1979). For general comments on the construction of the figure, see Figure 3.

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Figure 5. Bodily movement practices in PETE from 1980 to 2000 differ from the previous practices (see Figure 4) in that the coeducational reform led to the termination of the separate female gymnastics culture (cf. Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003; Schantz & Nilsson, 1990). For general comments on the construction of the figure, s ee Figure 3.

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Figure 6. Bodily movement practices in PETE in the 21st century. A dimension of “everyday life physical activity” was introduced during this period (Idrottshögskolan, 2002, 2003). The other movement practices remained the same compared to the previous phase, with one exception: The time alotted to “basic forms of physical training” was reduced; see Figure 5 (cf. Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003, 2012). For general comments on the construction of the figure, see Figure 3.

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Contexts of Emergence, Continuity, and Discontinuity of Bodily Movement Practices

Emergence of PETE in Sweden
The early 19th century was a time open for new concepts about the training of the body. This process, which was connected to the Enlightenment and the growing importance of rational and acting, as well as the faith in scientific thinking, made it possible for new concepts and ideals to develop, including a specific exercise culture of physical education (Pfister, 2003). The institutional setting for Swedish gymnastics came about when Per Henrik Ling was given permission to establish the Royal Gymnastic Central Institute (GCI, today GIH) in 1813. This was also the starting point for the emergence of PETE in Sweden. Ling wanted to provide a system on a theoretical basis and resting on philanthropical ideas, “the philosophy of nature,” inspired by Rousseau and GutsMuths, where the intellect could be developed through the senses and action. The other basis for his system was that it was intended to rest on the “laws of the human organism” and on knowledge gained from studies of the human body. His thinking resulted in certain ideas about the execution of movements and schooling of the body, which were tightly linked to Lings’ ethical and aesthetic ideals and to perspectives of health regarded as a wholeness.

Ling aimed to develop a gymnastics system with four subdisciplines: pedagogical, medical, military, and aesthetic gymnastics. Hence, Swedish gymnastics came to be seen not only as a system for the purpose of educating the whole body, but also as a cure for the sick. Aesthetic gymnastics “whereby one expresses the inner self: thoughts and emotions” (Ling, 1840/1979, p.50) was subjected to only minor developmental attempts.

This article focuses on pedagogical gymnastics, which was defined as the means “whereby one learns to master one’s own body” (Ling, 1840/1979, p. 52). To correctly cultivate the human body, according to Ling (1840/1979, p. 54), required an elaborate system of different to promote the ability for movement control and competence. These movements were determined in detail with regard to starting and final positions, as well as the trajectory and rhythm of such movements. The system included a well-reasoned progression from easy to more complicated movements. The movements could be executed as freestanding exercises, without support, or as exercises supported by gymnastics apparatus, but all movements are based on the above-mentioned central aspects. This form of pedagogical gymnastics also had a statuesque aim (i.e., to develop a harmonious and symmetric body with good posture). Competition was not the aim or the medium of this specific movement practice, and it was not included in the praxeology (Lindroth, 1993/1994, 2004; Ling, 1840/1979; Ljunggren, 2000; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003).

From early on, Ling stated that women should be included in this form of bodily exercise, in a feminine type of gymnastics. However, this type of gymnastics was never developed by Per Henrik Ling himself, but rather was developed later through the work of his son, Hjalmar Ling, who gave examples of simple forms of gymnastics for female students (Lindroth, 2004; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). Throughout the first 100 years at GCI, the teacher training of male and female students, in both theory and practice, was focused on gymnastics, as illustrated in Figure 2.

Tensions and Conflicts Around Ling Gymnastics
In the early 1900s, the scientific basis of the Ling gymnastic system was strongly questioned. This critique was primarily based on scientific studies of a specific movement that was claimed by the Ling gymnasts to enlarge the vital capacity and thereby improve oxygen uptake (Lindhard, 1926; Schantz, 2009; Söderberg, 1996). At GCI there had been, until the early 20th century, surprisingly small-scale efforts to increase the scientific understanding of Ling gymnastics in terms of their own knowledge production (cf. Lindroth, 2004). From the early 20th century there was, however, a clear ambition in this respect. A proposal to establish professorships in physiology, anatomy, histology, psychology, and pedagogics, as well as three in pedagogical gymnastics, was put forward in 1910. However, in those days the national government and parliament made such decisions, and not until 1938 was a decision made to establish a professorship in the physiology of bodily movements and hygiene (Schantz, 2009). In spite of this tension created by the accusation of a nonscientific bodily movement practice, Ling gymnastics kept its position as the main body exercise system into about the middle of the 20th century in combined 9-year elementary and junior high schools in Sweden (Lundquist Wanneberg, 2004) as well as in other countries (Kirk, 2010). One explanation for this long survival was its strong institutionalization, represented by the GCI, and its existing views on body, health, and physical culture, which constituted a strong health and hygiene discourse aimed at defeating, for example, infectious diseases and crooked bodily postures, and at strengthening character through education (Bonde, 2006; Palmblad & Eriksson, 1995). This health and hygiene discourse and the tight relationship between pedagogic and physiotherapeutic gymnastics gave legitimacy to Swedish gymnastics. Furthermore, this type of bodily exercise also encompassed PE for girls, which, over the years, led to a strong female PETE culture. From a societal perspective, this suited the task of PE well. The alternatives for bodily exercise and the training of girls’ bodies were few in number at that time (Carli, 2004; Kirk, 2010; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). Furthermore, from the point of view of scientific legitimacy, there were no alternatives to Ling gymnastics. Thus, sports, for example, could not compete with Ling gymnastics in this respect.

From Gymnastics to Sports: The Process of Sportification of PETE
During the first half of the 20th century, sport with its logic of competition was introduced as part of the bodily movement culture at GCI and expanded gradually to become an equal part of the PETE training practice as compared to Ling gymnastics. When Ling gymnastics rapidly lost its dominating position from the 1950s to 1960s, sports overtook that role (cf. Figures 3 and 4). From the mid-1960s, the study hours for courses in sport disciplines started to outnumber those for gymnastics (Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). To understand these changes in physical practices in PETE, it is important to understand how sport as a physical culture spread during the 19th and 20th centuries in Sweden and globally. A vast amount of literature has described how the rise of organized sports took off in such an emphatic way. Undoubtedly, there is, as Pfister (2003) notes, “a connection between the rise of sport and the adoption of values, standards and structures of industrialization—including rationality, technological progress, the abstract organization of time and an economy aimed at accumulation of capital” (p. 71). Linked to these societal processes was also the reformation of the public school systems, which required a system for the changing ideals of manliness, where the idealization of fair play, together with an appreciation of individual achievement, competitive in character, represented values to be sought after (Mangan, 1981a, 1981b). The average man was considered superior to the average woman, with women being seen as weaker and lacking potential (Pfister, 2003; Wright, 1996). Darwinism also played an important role in forming the sports ideology: the application of Darwin’s theory of natural selection as an argument for maintaining a strong defense for the survival of the fittest, which was to be achieved by means of persistent athletic exercises and competitions (Sandblad, 1985).

In Sweden, the breakthrough for the establishment of the sports movement occurred when the first sports organization became government financed (1913) and a part of the nation’s social and moral program (cf. Lindroth, 2004). As support grew during the first decades of the 20th century, sport was taken on by PETE as well as in PE in schools. The fundamental principle of Ling gymnastics thereby became less exclusive, appeared to be of less value, and was less sought after. The representatives of Ling gymnastics were surprised that sport, which had earlier been for the upper classes, was suddenly available to the wider masses (Lindroth, 2004).

The spread of sport after World War II was also accompanied by influences of a type of physical training—circuit training—originally emerging from military training. These influences brought in new principles concerning how the training of the body was to be planned and executed (Morgan & Adamson, 1961). Effective training during short periods of time, possible to be executed in small spaces, was in many ways revolutionary compared to the more complicated exercise programs in gymnastics. The emergence of exercise science (cf. Åstrand & Rodahl, 1970), not the least with regard to aerobic conditioning, gave sport and fitness training further legitimacy at GCI (Schantz, 2009). At first, the principles of training represented by circuit training were implemented as part of male gymnastic training (Figure 3).

Alongside the sportification process, the female branch of Ling gymnastics challenged its traditional practice from the beginning of the 20th century and was influenced by an elaborated theory of body and rhythm and the concept of effort saving (Laine, 1989). Initially, these influences, involving breaking with the stiff traditional floor-standing gymnastics, met opposition and resistance (Forsman & Moberg, 1990; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). But it was not possible to stop this development and changing of “logic” to aesthetics because it could be justified as being in line with Ling’s intentions concerning the aesthetic branch of his system (see Figure 3). Another process that demonstrated elasticity in the application of the principles of Ling was the development of PE and children’s gymnastics toward a more natural and child centered way of moving, away from drill and command (Falk, 1903, 1913).

The nature of female gymnastics embodied values of emotions and how to put one’s soul into the movements, to liberate the body, and to provide space for self-education (Carli, 2004; Laine, 1989; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). The performing of movements was characterized by sensitiveness, adaptability, body awareness, and expression—the feeling of the movement. This type of body training, based on what today is called a subjective experiencing of the body (body-as-subject), provided cultural, physical, and symbolic capital that did not challenge the existing ideals of the female body at that time. Both of the above-mentioned processes must be acknowledged as mechanisms for understanding the long survival of Swedish gymnastics in the PETE programs and in school PE. The corresponding development of the male Ling gymnastics was not the case (Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003).

The popularity and success of the spread of sports is both easy and not easy to understand. With regard to former principles for the education of body and mind, it is interesting how sport, with its meaning-making principles of competition and specialization of skills, with the training of the body as an objective, could fit in so easily and replace the old virtues of the training of the body, regarding health as wholeness, without the dualism of body and soul.

The introduction of outdoor life in PETE from 1900 to 1960 (Figure 3) can be understood in relation to the organization phase of outdoor life in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It reflects a need for new identities due to both the great demographic changes with the strong urbanization processes during this period and also the concomitant nationalism and strong surge for new national identities. In this identification process, love of nature as well as skiing emerged as strong parts of the identity profile for Swedes (cf. Sandell & Sörlin, 2008).

From Two-Gender Specific PETE Cultures to One: A Merging With Consequences
During the 1970s political striving for equal rights and employment in Sweden led to questioning of the organization of gender-separated PETE programs. Suddenly old ideals stood beside new ones. The process of integration of the male and female PETE cultures as well as the sportification process of bodily movement practices led not only to a new gender order and a loss of the female gymnastics culture, but also to a marginalization of the female PE pedagogical culture (Carli, 2004; Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003; Schantz & Nilsson, 1990; cf. Figures 4 and 5). For corresponding changes in other countries, see Kirk (2010), Wright (1996), and O’Sullivan, Bush, and Gehring (2002). Furthermore, the time allotted to courses in gymnastics decreased substantially after the coeducation reform in 1977 (Lundvall & Meckbach, 2003). The long tradition of female PETE culture, together with school PE steering documents, prevented a total termination. Courses in dance, music, and movement remained as minor parts of the coeducational PETE study program, but were aimed more at fitness gymnastics, such as workouts and aerobics (Figure 5). Former practices with their fundamental principles of aesthetics became simplified.

At GCI–GIH, the total amount of practical courses went from being the major portion of the study programs during the early 20th century to becoming more peripheral, from taking up 80% of the total study time in the 1920s to less than 15% about 90 years later (Lundvall & Meckbach, 2012; Tolgfors, 1979). A parallel academization process of PETE took place in general, and globally, after the 1970s (e.g., see Kirk, 2010; Kirk et al., 1997; Tinning, 2010).

Everyday Life Physical Activity as Bodily Movement Practice: Disagreements in Modern Time During the late 20th century, new and other practices of physical activity started to be demanded. Recommended amounts and levels of physical activity were distributed in 1996 by the U.S. Surgeon General (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). This way of thinking about children’s and young peoples’ needs for physical activity bore some resemblance to former medical arguments for the prevention of disease and for the curing of the sick that started nearly 200 years earlier.

Everyday life physical activity as a way of thinking gradually became established in society around the beginning of the 21st century, originally taken on by stakeholders in public health, actors outside the field of PETE, and academic disciplines related to sports (Ainsworth, 2005; McKenzie, Alcaraz, Sallis, & Faucette, 1998; Morgan, 2000). This thinking signaled that children and adolescents need to learn how to become and stay physically active in everyday life (McKenna & Riddoch, 2003; Smith & Biddle, 2008; Trost, 2006). Changes in society had led to a focus on physical inactivity among the population. This scenario developed even though there had never before been so many opportunities for participation in organized sports. An outspoken fear of to what physically inactive lifestyles could lead among young people (including reports of obesity crises) was strongly communicated (World Health Organization, 2002). Once again, the question of how physical exercise could contribute to the health of a nation’s citizens came up on the political agenda.

The sought-after legitimatizing educational values and logic of practices behind this new way of thinking have not been clearly communicated so far. The rationale behind the emphasis on everyday life physical activity has given rise to criticism. Educational sociologists point out that school PE cannot only be driven by a medical risk discourse, or a pathogenic and/or normative way of thinking of physical activity and health (Gard & Wright, 2001, 2006; Kirk, 2010). Physical education is much more: It is about physical self-esteem, body awareness and abilities, personal and social development, questions of democracy, as well as critical aspects of health and health communication (Evans, 2004; Evans, Davies, & Wright, 2004; Macdonald & Hay, 2010; Siedentop, 2009). This can perhaps explain to some extent why PETE educators have shown a cautious attitude toward how the thinking about everyday life physical activity has been exposed and how it has been attempted to be implemented. It is too early to describe with any certainty how and what the construction of knowledge around everyday life physical activity will represent in terms of new or renewed bodily movement practices in the area of PETE in general and globally.

The first compulsory course in everyday life physical activity at GIH was started in 2004 in two transdisciplinary courses (Idrottshögskolan, 2002, 2003), which were demanded in a teacher education reform (Figure 6). These dimensions of human movement were introduced in a context of physical activity, public health, and sustainable development (Schantz, 2002, 2006; Schantz & Lundvall, forthcoming). Hence, it is possible to state that learning sports as the predominant bodily movement practice in PETE programs and school PE has been challenged.

Post-Overview Reflections
In this article, a model clarifying the multiplicity of fundamental principles and dimensions of bodily movement practices in a specific, but for the development of PETE, central setting in Sweden has been presented. The model has been used to illustrate the continuity and discontinuity of movement practices. Thereafter, mechanisms and contextual backgrounds to these changes over time have been described.

Although national and cultural differences in how countries organize their PETE programs and school PE exist, there are reasons to believe that the similarities of the development described outnumber the differences. The scheme of continuity and discontinuity stimulates a discussion about what values have been gained, what has been lost, and what possible values have not been introduced as part of PETE.

The introduction of new physical activity logics in PETE has sometimes been dependent not only on the meaningfulness of a certain logic but also on power relations. The introduction of sport is such an example. Furthermore, there are also examples of dramatic changes that have taken place without being desired or planned for intentionally. The rapid decline of female gymnastics at the beginning of the 1980s as a result of the introduction of coeducation is an example. Furthermore, Ling gymnastics faded away after World War II and, with that, faded the principles of movement practices aimed at dimensions such as general body awareness, posture, and ability to maintain motor control. Again, these consequences were not foreseen.

Another lesson is that such unforeseen consequences can be difficult to handle in terms of compensatory pedagogic actions. The values of the female gymnastics and the Ling gymnastics were dependent on strong framing cultures that had been developed over long periods of time, and indeed, the creation of new cultures fostering the best values of those previous cultures is difficult to achieve. Therefore, as a memento, it is suggested that, before changing the content of PETE, one should try to create different scenarios to counteract the possibility that that decision may lead to unforeseen effects.

The overview also makes it clear that the dimension of movement practices connected to different forms of artistic dance have been left out in PETE. This exclusion has, with few exceptions (Schantz & Nilsson, 1990), not been an issue that has been discussed. Indeed, most likely, this would not have been the case if it had been a traditionally male-dominated domain of physical activity. Among these gender issues is also that females taking up different forms of traditionally male-dominated sports is appraised positively, whereas attempts in the opposite direction are generally few in number or entirely absent and lack clear support in the currently governing mind-sets within PETE.

The existence of a multiplicity of logic of movement practices in the field of physical activity points to distinct values of each of the fundamental principles underlying these practices. In line with this, the interaction between different kinds of movement practices and the individual enlarges his/her points of reference in relation to body, movement, and mind.

With such a view constituting a rationale for different physical activities in PETE, one can ask what balances in time allocation are reasonable for attaining a goal of widening the personal experiences and securing “breadth” as an educative value of its own. This takes into account that most of the PE students of today have a strong personal experience in sports, whereas their experience with other physical activity cultures is meager (Brun Sundblad, Meckbach, Lundvall, & Nilsson, 2010). They have what Bourdieu would call a strongly developed taste for sport, forming part of a strong sport habitus (Bourdieu, 1984; Engström, 2008).

Another dimension of reflection on the PETE content deals with what PE contents in schools may be important for adult behavioral patterns of physical activity. Not much cross-sectional or longitudinal research exists on those issues, but there are indications that socializing into sport activities might not effectively foster physically active lifestyles among adults. Instead, schooling into a broad movement repertoire, as well as experiences of outdoor life, appears to be more effective in this respect (Engström, 2008).

Recent knowledge highlights that, in relation to physical activity, one has to take into account the multiplicity and complexity of young peoples’ lives. Context and social interaction play a central role. Children and adolescents are social actors that navigate in the landscape that surrounds physical movement culture. More attention has to be given to how the “healthy citizen” is constructed. What does it mean to live on the countryside, to live in inner cities, or to have the gym or the sport club as the social place for physical activities? In what ways does the place create meanings and relations? And for whom? Which physical activities are included or excluded (Wright & Macdonald, 2011; Thedin Jakobsson, in press)? According to current reports and research studies on school PE in Sweden, students learn sports but not about health and how to take responsibility for healthy physically active lifestyles (Lundvall & Meckbach, 2008; Quennerstedt, Öhman, & Ericson, 2008; Skolinspektionen, 2010). These issues have also been highlighted globally (Hardman & Green, 2011; Green, 2008; Pühse & Gerber, 2005)

New scenarios concerning health, well-being, and illness, including rising numbers of school students experiencing stress and forms of psychological unhealthiness (Folkhälsoinstitutet, 2011), migration, economic recessions, growing segregation among social classes, and an uneven distribution of access to physical activity and health knowledge, have continued to challenge the stability of health among societies’ citizens. The overview relates the content matter of PETE over time to influences of different societal contexts. From this perspective, the relation of physical activity in PETE to major current societal challenges, such as the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics, as well as issues related to sustainable development (cf. Schantz & Lundvall, forthcoming) and globalization, are examples of matters that deserve to be thought through and discussed in much more depth than what appears to be the case in most PETE institutions and countries at present.

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Comparison of Body Image Perceptions for Female Competitive Dancers, Fitness Cohort, and Non-Dancers in a College Population

Submitted by Lorraine Killion, Ed.D. & Dean Culpepper, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT
Body image is a complex synthesis of psychophysical elements that are perpetual, emotional, cognitive, and kinesthetic (1). The desire to achieve and maintain an ideal weight is a prevalent goal among females. The purpose of this study was to examine a female population of competitive dancers, control, and fitness cohorts’ body image and eating characteristics. A total of 51 (29 dancers, 12 control, and 10 fitness) subjects completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences and showed a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F=8.735, p<001). Post hoc tests were conducted to determine directionality and showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p=.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have a drive for thinness to compete (2). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.

INTRODUCTION
Research has documented and quantified a shift towards a thinner ideal shape for females in the Western culture for the past 20 years (3). Body image has been shown in numerous studies to be a key issue for females. Body image has been described as a multidimensional construct that describes internal, subjective representations of physical and bodily appearance (4). The internal representations of one’s own body include both cognitive and perceptual elements (5). In addition, eating disorders have been shown to be prevalent in females with more than 90 percent of those with eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 years of age (6, 7, 8). Research indicates that both of these factors (body image and eating disorders) are present among elite performers of certain sports or physical activities, ballet dancers, and professional dancers (8). Yet little has been reported on dance team participants (9, 10, 11).

Dance team is difficult to research due to the paucity of literature available and the complexity of terminology. Also, dance team is a nebulous term to define. Research demonstrates common referrals to spirit teams, spirit squads, dance teams, as well as pom squads. While the confusion in labeling and current argument as to whether this is an activity or a sport still looms, one fact that remains constant is competitive spirit teams is one of the fastest growing areas of participation for females (12).

Among high school participants, over 96,718 females were accounted for in the 2010-2011 high school athletics participation survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, ranking competitive spirit teams ninth for female participation. At the college level, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reported that spirit squad has experienced the most growth for women’s sport (13, 14). A nationwide Division I study conducted during the 2001-02 academic school year investigated the prevalence of dance and cheerleading programs and reported 89% of the institutions contacted indicated they sponsored competitive dance (12).

The current emerging phenomenon of dance teams has witnessed the rise in visibility of participants at sporting events and are known for their pre-game and half-time routines. Dance teams are comprised of competitive dancers who are required to practice for long hours in movements, choreography, and synchronicity among dancers. Participants are also required to incorporate specific choreography (i.e., contemporary, hip-hop, or jazz) and technical skills (jumps, kicks, and other gymnastic-type skills) into the routine. It is highly competitive and requires hours of rehearsal to master precise movements in harmony with other members of the team.

The increasing number of females participating in dance team competition is prevalent. Long rehearsal hours, use of mirrors, and dance outfits, place dance team participants at risk of body image concerns (15, 16, 17, 18). Of additional concern is the presence of wearing dance outfits which possibly place them as subjects of objectification, or being evaluated by gazing or being observed or “checked out” on the basis of their appearance (17, 19, 10).

With the growing number of females participating in dance team competition, a further examination of the psychosocial factors that accompany this new sport warrants investigation including the importance of assessing potential body image disturbance. This study was designed to examine the perceptions of dance team participants, fitness participants, and non-dancers in a college population.

METHODS
Upon Internal Review Board (IRB) approval, fifty one subjects were recruited from two university campuses. Informed consent was obtained prior to the study through an information letter that was administered to participants in dance and physical fitness classes.

Participants
Participants were female students enrolled in university classes and dance teams. Two university campuses were involved in the study and yielded a total of 51 participants. The study was comprised of 29 dancers, 10 fitness students, and 12 control subjects. The mean age and standard deviation for the participants were: dancers (M = 20.69, SD = 2.25), fitness (M = 25.40, SD = 8.67), and control (M = 20.42, SD = 0.996). The dancers were from university dance teams, the fitness participants were enrolled in fitness classes, and the participants in the control group were randomly selected from general university courses.

Instruments
Each subject completed questionnaires assessing participant demographics, physical activity involvement using the NASA Physical Activity Scale and body image perceptions using the Stunkard Figural Rating Silhouettes. Eating behavior patterns were assessed utilizing the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and attitudes concerning body image were assessed with the Multi- dimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ). Anthropometric measurements (height and weight) were then taken. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. Body fat measurements were taken on each participant using an Omron Fat Loss Monitor, Model HBF-306C. The Fat Loss Monitor (Omron Fat Loss Monitor, Model HBF-306C) displays the estimated value of body fat percentage by bioelectrical impedance method and indicates the Body Mass Index (BMI). The bioelectrical impedance, skinfold, and hydrostatic weighing methods have all been shown to be reliable measures of body composition (r = .957-.987). (23)

Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26)
The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was used to differentiate participants with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating, and those without disordered eating characteristics. It is a 26-item measurement consisting of three subscales: 1) dieting, 2) bulimia and food perception, and 3) oral control. Scoring for this instrument was a Likert scale of six possible answers (always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never). Scores ranged from zero to three for each question and a total score greater than 20 indicates excessive body image concern that may identify an eating disorder (20, 21). The EAT-26 has been proven to be a reliable (r =.88) measurement. (7)

Figural Rating Silhouettes
Body size judgments were obtained using the Stunkard Figure Rating Scale (see figure 1). This scale consists of a nine-figure scale of numbered silhouettes that increase gradually in size from very thin (a value of 1) to very obese (a value of 9). (22) Two body size perception variables were included in the current study. “Self-perceived body size” is the number of the figure selected by participants in response to the prompt “Choose the figure that reflects how you think you currently look.” “Ideal body size” is the number of the figure chosen in response to the prompt “Choose your ideal figure.” This scale has good test-retest reliability and adequate validity (23, 24). Following the methods of other investigators, we defined body size satisfaction as the difference between self-perceived body size and ideal body size (25, 26, 27, 28). A body size discrepancy index variable was created for each participant by subtracting the number of the figure selected as the ideal body size from the number of the figure selected as the self-perceived current body size (28). A high body size discrepancy value signifies low satisfaction with body size, and a low value signifies greater satisfaction with body size.

Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire
The Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) is a 69 item self-report inventory for the assessment of self-attitudinal aspects of the body image construct. The MBSRQ measures satisfaction and orientation with body appearance, fitness, and health. In addition to seven subscales (Appearance Evaluation and Orientation, Fitness Evaluation and Orientation, Health Evaluation and Orientation, and Illness Orientation), the MBSRQ has three special multi-item subscales: (1) The Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS) approaches body image evaluation as dissatisfaction-satisfaction with body areas and attributes; 2) The Overweight Preoccupation Scale assesses fat anxiety, weight vigilance, dieting, and eating restraint; and 3) The Self-Classified Weight Scale assesses self-appraisals of weight from “very underweight” to “very overweight.” Internal consistency for MBSRQ subscales range from .74 -.91. This questionnaire has been studied and used extensively in the college population. Internal consistency for the subscales of the MBSRQ ranged from .67 to .85 for males and .71 to .86 for females (9).

Physical Activity Scale
Level of physical activity was obtained by self-report with the NASA Activity Scale (NAS) (29, 30). The scale enables subjects to rate their general activity behavior over the previous 30 days. The scale range is from 0 to 10, which is based on the total weekly minutes spent in exercise or the total weekly miles run or walked. A NAS of 0-1 represents very low activity. A rating of 2-3 represents regular recreation or work of modest effort in such activities as golf or yard work for a weekly total of between 30 min to 2 h. Ratings of 4-10 represent regular participation in aerobic exercise ranging from light to heavy exercise.

Procedures
The participants were instructed by a trained individual to fill out the information packets provided on clipboards. First, the participants completed a personal identification and demographic sheet that contained general information such as age and dance or sport category. The participants then completed the MBSRQ-AS, the EAT-26, Physical Activity Questionnaire, and the Stunkard Figural Rating Scale (31, 20, 29, 22). As the participants completed the written component of the study, another trained individual took height and weight measures of the participants and recorded the body mass index (BMI) from a hand-held BIA analyzer. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. A test/retest method was utilized for both measures to offset measurement error. In the measure of weight, the individual’s weight was recorded, the participant stepped off the digital scale and the scale was returned to “zero”. The measure was then taken again and recorded. In the measure of height, the same procedure of test/retest was used. When all measures were taken, the average of the two measures was then recorded. The measures were then taken by the researchers and converted using the formula (BMI = weight/height M2). BMI was then calculated and recorded for all participants. When the information was completed, the participants returned the packets to the trained administrator. Data sheets were collected and kept in a locked file cabinet for confidentiality.
A total of 51 participants completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. The Dancers and the Fitness group were significantly lower in body fat and higher in physical activity and the on the EAT-26. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences among the different measures and the subscales.

Table 1 – Figure Rating Means for each Group (dancer, fitness, & control)
Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 4.14.52 PM

RESULTS
The MANOVA indicated a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F = 8.735, p<.001). Post hoc tests were conducted and analyses were examined to determine directionality. Results showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p=.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26 (see Table 2).
Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. Body dissatisfaction measures often focus on body build and are operationalized as the difference between ideal and self-perceived current figure as selected from a group of drawings (32, 33, 34). Measures of body dissatisfaction were computed by subtracting participants’ ratings of their Current Body Size (CBS) from their Ideal Body Size (IBS) to create a discrepancy index (DI). (28) The DI’s for each group were calculated with means and standard deviations recorded: Dancers (-.59/1.11), Fitness Group (-1.04/.966), and Control (-1.55/.85). The dancers in this study were dissatisfied with their bodies and wanted a thinner body as described in the discrepancy index, indicating a higher level of importance on their appearance (p=.045).

Table 2-Percent Fat and Eat-26 Totals for Subjects
Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 4.15.08 PM

DISCUSSION
The primary focus of this investigation was to examine collegiate dance team participants to see if they exhibited body image distortions and disordered eating habits as exhibited in other female performers. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M = 17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have exhibited a drive for thinness to compete (2).

The findings of the data for this study are consistent with previous studies regarding body image in females (6, 35, 36). The females in this study perceived their current figure as heavier than their ideal figure. Although literature available on dancers exists, many of the studies have focused on ballet dancers and other professional dancer types. Future research should examine dance team participants to see if the pressures are similar (i.e., rehearsing with mirrors and being viewed during their performance by an audience). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.

These results indicate that dancers had higher incidence of negative body image disturbances as compared with the controls. Dancers are usually expected to be slim, well-proportioned, and toned and are placed under a great deal of pressure to maintain these features. Often, the various aspects of a dance class can potentially lead to a negative body image (37). The pressures of being thin may present negative body images for dance team members (38). A national survey conducted reported that body image concerns continue to be prevalent among American women (39). Levels of body dissatisfaction may also foster negative affect because appearance is a central dimension for women in our culture (40).

While the dangers of distorted body image are present in the dance world, measures to minimize their impact should include coaches who focus on performance rather than personal appearance. Taking an active interest in how their dancers view themselves is critical to a more comprehensive understanding of the causes of body image concern. By further addressing this issue, researchers can also help minimize health risks in female participants as well as reduce body image dissatisfaction.

Limitations & Implications
Limitations to this study include the sample size. In addition, this study investigated indicators of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors rather than clinical diagnoses of eating disorders. Other variables that are contributing factors to the prevalence of disordered eating were not investigated. The results of the EAT-26 test were not intended to diagnose nor suggest an eating or life-threatening disorder; however, the EAT-26 was used because it has proven to be an effective screening tool in identifying eating disorder symptomology and allows for further investigation for treatment.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT
Body image has been the subject of much research conducted in recent years. As a result, body image is now recognized a multidimensional construct with complex aspects, particularly perceptual. The majority of the existing data indicates that body image concerns are prevalent among American females. With the recent phenomenal growth of dance team participation and the increasing number of female participants; a closer examination is warranted. Yet, there is a paucity of research available on dance team participants and their perceptions of their body appearance. Because dance team members wear a designated uniform/outfit, dance to a learned synchronized routine, and perform in front of an audience, they are subjected to visual scrutinization of fans/viewers. The uniqueness of the stressors and demands placed on the dancers complicates this issue. Additional knowledge of how dance team members perceive how they look and what the audience thinks of them in regards to abilities and their physical appearance deserves further investigation. Dealing with such information will not only benefit dance team members body image and self-esteem, but assist coaches and directors in ways to assist young women in resulting body image dissatisfaction.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
None

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register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. Kety (Ed.), The genetics of
neurological and psychiatric disorders (pp. 115-120). New York: Raven Press.
23. Thompson, J. K. & Altabe, M. N. (1991). Psychometric qualities of the figure
rating scale. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10, 5, 615-619.
24. Smith, D. E., Thompson, J. K., Raczynski, J.M., and Hilner, J. E. (1999). Body
image among men and women in a biracial cohort: The CARDIA study.
International Journal of Eating Disorders, 25, 1, 71–82.
25. Garner, D. M., Garfinkel, P. E., and O’Shaughnessy, M. (1985). The validity of
the distinction between bulimia with and without anorexia nervosa. American
Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 581-587.
26. Flynn, K., & Fitzgibbon, M. (1996). Body images and obesity risk among Black
females: A review of the literature. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 1, 13-24.
27. Furnham, A., Badmin, N., & Sneade, I. (2002). Body image dissatisfaction:
Gender differences in eating attitudes, self-esteem, and reasons for exercise. The
Journal of Psychology, 136, 6, 581-596.
28. Thompson, K. (1996). Assessing body image disturbance: Measures,
methodology, and implementation. In J.K. Thompson (Ed.), Body image, eating
disorders, and obesity (pp. 49-81). Washington, DC: American Psychological
Association.
29. Jackson, A.S., et al. (1996). Changes in aerobic power of women, ages 20 to 64
years. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28: 884-891.
30. Jackson, A.S., et al. (1990). Prediction of functional aerobic capacity without
exercise testing. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 22:863-870.
31. Cash, T. F. (1990). Body images: Development, deviance, and change. Cash,
Thomas F. (Ed.); Pruzinsky, Thomas (Ed.); New York, NY, US: Guilford Press,
1990. pp. 51-79.
32. Thompson, J. K., and Smolak, L. (2001). Body Image, Eating Disorders, and
Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment. 2ndEd., Washington,
DC, US: American Psychological Association, 389. pp. 54-55.
33. Candy, C. M. & Fee, V.E. (1998). Underlying Dimensions and Psychometric
Properties of the Eating Behaviors and Body Image Test for Preadolescent Girls.
Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 117-127.
34. Collins, M. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among preadolescent
children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10, 100-108.
35. Tiggemann, M. (1992). Body-size dissatisfaction: Individual differences in age
and gender, and relationship with self-esteem. Personality and Individual
Differences, 13, 39-43.
36. Demarest, J. & Langer, E. (1996). Perception of body shape by underweight,
average, and overweight men and women. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 83, 569-
570.
37. Oliver, W. (2008). Body image in the dance class. Journal of Physical Education,
Recreation & Dance (JOPERD), 79, 5, 18-25.
38. Irving, L. (1990). Mirror images: Effects of the standard of beauty on the self- and
body-esteem of women exhibiting varying levels of bulimic symptoms. Journal of
Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 230-242.
39. Cash, F. & Henry, E. (1995). Women’s Body Images: The results of a national
survey in the USA. Sex Roles, 33, 19-28.
40. Thompson, K. & Stice, E. (2001). Thin-Ideal Internalization: Mounting Evidence
for a New Risk Factor for Body-Image Disturbance and Eating Pathology.
Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 5, 181-183.

A Comparison of Body Image Perceptions for Female Competitive Dancers, Fitness Cohort, and Non-Dancers in a College Population

 

ABSTRACT

Body image is a complex synthesis of psychophysical elements that are perpetual, emotional, cognitive, and inesthetic (1). The desire to achieve and maintain an ideal weight is a prevalent goal among females. The purpose of this study was to examine a female population of competitive dancers, control, and fitness cohorts’ body image and eating characteristics. A total of 51 (29 dancers, 12 control, and 10 fitness) subjects completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences and showed a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F=8.735, p<001). Post hoc tests were conducted to determine directionality and showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p =.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have a drive for thinness to compete (2). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.

INTRODUCTION

Research has documented and quantified a shift towards a thinner ideal shape for females in the Western culture for the past 20 years (3). Body image has been shown in numerous studies to be a key issue for females. Body image has been described as a multidimensional construct that describes internal,subjective representations of physical and bodily appearance (4). The internal representations of one’s own body include both cognitive and perceptual elements (5). In addition, eating disorders have been shown to be prevalent in females with more than 90 percent of those with eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 years of age (6, 7, 8). Research indicates that both of these factors (body image and eating disorders) are present among elite performers of certain sports or physical activities, ballet dancers, and professional dancers (8). Yet little has been reported on dance team participants (9, 10, 11).

Dance team is difficult to research due to the paucity of literature available and the complexity of terminology. Also, dance team is a nebulous term to define. Research demonstrates common referrals to spirit teams, spirit squads, dance teams, as well as pom squads. While the confusion in labeling and current argument as to whether this is an activity or a sport still looms, one fact that remains constant is competitive spirit teams is one of the fastest growing areas of participation for females (12).

Among high school participants, over 96,718 females were accounted for in the 2010-2011 high school athletics participation survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, ranking competitive spirit teams ninth for female participation. At the college level, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reported that spirit squad has experienced the most growth for women’s sport (13, 14). A nationwide Division I study conducted during the 2001-02 academic school year investigated the prevalence of dance and cheerleading programs and reported 89% of the institutions contacted indicated they sponsored competitive dance (12).

The current emerging phenomenon of dance teams has witnessed the rise invisibility of participants at sporting events and are known for their pre-game and half-time routines. Dance teams are comprised of competitive dancers who are required to practice for long hours in movements, choreography, and synchronicity among dancers. Participants are also required to incorporate specific choreography (i.e., contemporary, hip-hop, or jazz) and technical skills (jumps, kicks, and other gymnastic-type skills) into the routine. It is highly competitive and requires hours of rehearsal to master precise movements in harmony with other members of the team.

The increasing number of females participating in dance team competition is prevalent. Long rehearsal hours, use of mirrors, and dance outfits, place dance team participants at risk of body image concerns (15, 16, 17, 18). Of additional concern is the presence of wearing dance outfits which possibly place them as subjects of objectification, or being evaluated by gazing or being observed or “checked out” on the basis of their appearance(17, 19, 10).

With the growing number of females participating in dance team competition,a further examination of the psychosocial factors that accompany this new sport warrants investigation including the importance of assessing potential body image disturbance. This study was designed to examine the perceptions of dance team participants, fitness participants, and non-dancers in a college population.

METHODS

Upon Internal Review Board (IRB) approval, fifty one subjects were recruited from two university campuses. Informed consent was obtained prior to the study through an information letter that was administered to participants in dance and physical fitness classes.

Participants

Participants were female students enrolled in university classes and dance teams. Two university campuses were involved in the study and yielded a total of 51 participants. The study was comprised of 29 dancers, 10 fitness students,and 12 control subjects. The mean age and standard deviation for the participants were: dancers (M = 20.69, SD = 2.25), fitness (M = 25.40, SD =8.67), and control (M = 20.42, SD = 0.996). The dancers were from university dance teams, the fitness participants were enrolled in fitness classes, and the participants in the control group were randomly selected from general university courses.

Instruments

Each subject completed questionnaires assessing participant demographics,physical activity involvement using the NASA Physical Activity Scale and body image perceptions using the Stunkard Figural Rating Silhouettes. Eating behavior patterns were assessed utilizing the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26)and attitudes concerning body image were assessed with the Multi-dimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ). Anthropometric measurements (height and weight) were then taken. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. Body fat measurements were taken on each participant using an Omron Fat Loss Monitor, Model HBF-306C. The Fat Loss Monitor (Omron Fat Loss Monitor, ModelHBF-306C) displays the estimated value of body fat percentage by bioelectrical impedance method and indicates the Body Mass Index (BMI). The bioelectrical impedance, skinfold, and hydrostatic weighing methods have all been shown to be reliable measures of body composition (r = .957-.987). (23)

Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26)

The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was used to differentiate participants with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating, and those without disordered eating characteristics. It is a 26-item measurement consisting of three subscales: 1) dieting, 2) bulimia and food perception, and 3) oral control. Scoring for this instrument was a Likert scale of six possible answers(always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never). Scores ranged from zero to three for each question and a total score greater than 20 indicates excessive body image concern that may identify an eating disorder (20, 21). The EAT-26has been proven to be a reliable (r =.88) measurement. (7)

Figural Rating Silhouettes

Body size judgments were obtained using the Stunkard Figure Rating Scale(see figure 1). This scale consists of a nine-figure scale of numbered silhouettes that increase gradually in size from very thin (a value of 1) to very obese (a value of 9). (22) Two body size perception variables were included in the current study. “Self-perceived body size” is the number of the figure selected by participants in response to the prompt“Choose the figure that reflects how you think you currently look.”“Ideal body size” is the number of the figure chosen in response to the prompt “Choose your ideal figure.” This scale has good test-retest reliability and adequate validity (23, 24). Following the methods of other investigators, we defined body size satisfaction as the difference between self-perceived body size and ideal body size (25, 26, 27, 28). A body size discrepancy index variable was created for each participant by subtracting the number of the figure selected as the ideal body size from the number of the figure selected as the self-perceived current body size (28). A high body size discrepancy value signifies low satisfaction with body size, and a low value signifies greater satisfaction with body size.

Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire

The Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) is a 69 item self-report inventory for the assessment of self-attitudinal aspects of the body image construct. The MBSRQ measures satisfaction and orientation with body appearance, fitness, and health. In addition to seven subscales (Appearance Evaluation and Orientation, Fitness Evaluation and Orientation, Health Evaluation and Orientation, and Illness Orientation), the MBSRQ has three special multi-item subscales: (1) The Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS)approaches body image evaluation as dissatisfaction-satisfaction with body areas and attributes; 2) The Overweight Preoccupation Scale assesses fat anxiety, weight vigilance, dieting, and eating restraint; and 3) The Self-Classified Weight Scale assesses self-appraisals of weight from“very underweight” to “very overweight.” Internal consistency for MBSRQ subscales range from .74 -.91. This questionnaire has been studied and used extensively in the college population. Internal consistency for the subscales of the MBSRQ ranged from .67 to .85 for males and .71 to .86 for females (9).

Physical Activity Scale

Level of physical activity was obtained by self-report with the NASA Activity Scale (NAS) (29, 30). The scale enables subjects to rate their general activity behavior over the previous 30 days. The scale range is from 0 to 10,which is based on the total weekly minutes spent in exercise or the total weekly miles run or walked. A NAS of 0-1 represents very low activity. A rating of 2-3 represents regular recreation or work of modest effort in such activities as golf or yard work for a weekly total of between 30 min to 2 h.Ratings of 4-10 represent regular participation in aerobic exercise ranging from light to heavy exercise.

Procedures

The participants were instructed by a trained individual to fill out the information packets provided on clipboards. First, the participants completed a personal identification and demographic sheet that contained general information such as age and dance or sport category. The participants then completed the MBSRQ-AS, the EAT-26, Physical Activity Questionnaire, and the Stunkard Figural Rating Scale (31, 20, 29, 22). As the participants completed the written component of the study, another trained individual took height and weight measures of the participants and recorded the body mass index (BMI) from a hand-held BIA analyzer. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. A test/retest method was utilized for both measures to offset measurement error.In the measure of weight, the individual’s weight was recorded, the participant stepped off the digital scale and the scale was returned to“zero”. The measure was then taken again and recorded. In the measure of height, the same procedure of test/retest was used. When all measures were taken, the average of the two measures was then recorded. The measures were then taken by the researchers and converted using the formula(BMI = weight/height M2). BMI was then calculated and recorded for all participants. When the information was completed, the participants returned the packets to the trained administrator. Data sheets were collected and kept in a locked file cabinet for confidentiality.

A total of 51 participants completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. The Dancers and the Fitness group were significantly lower in body fat and higher in physical activity and the on the EAT-26. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences among the different measures and the subscales.

<img
alt=”Table 1 – Figure Rating Means for each Group (dancer, fitness, & control)”
src=”http://www.thesportjournal.org/files/Table 1 – Figure Rating Means for each Group (dancer, fitness, & control).png”
width=”470″ height=”233″ />

RESULTS

The MANOVA indicated a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F =8.735, p<.001). Post hoc tests were conducted and analyses were examined to determine directionality. Results showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p=.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26 (see Table 2).

<src=”http://www.thesportjournal.org/files/Table 2-Percent Fat and Eat-26 Totals for Subjects.png”
width=”461″ height=”239″ />

 

Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. Body dissatisfaction measures often focus on body build and are operationalized as the difference between ideal and self-perceived current figure as selected from a group of drawings (32, 33,34). Measures of body dissatisfaction were computed by subtracting participants’ ratings of their Current Body Size (CBS) from their Ideal Body Size (IBS) to create a discrepancy index (DI). (28) The DI’s for each group were calculated with means and standard deviations recorded: Dancers(-.59/1.11), Fitness Group (-1.04/.966), and Control (-1.55/.85). The dancers in this study were dissatisfied with their bodies and wanted a thinner body as described in the discrepancy index, indicating a higher level of importance on their appearance (p=.045).

DISCUSSION

The primary focus of this investigation was to examine collegiate dance team participants to see if they exhibited body image distortions and disordered eating habits as exhibited in other female performers. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M = 17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have exhibited a drive for thinness to compete (2).

The findings of the data for this study are consistent with previous studies regarding body image in females (6, 35, 36). The females in this study perceived their current figure as heavier than their ideal figure. Although literature available on dancers exists, many of the studies have focused on ballet dancers and other professional dancer types. Future research should examine dance team participants to see if the pressures are similar (i.e.,rehearsing with mirrors and being viewed during their performance by an audience). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.

These results indicate that dancers had higher incidence of negative body image disturbances as compared with the controls. Dancers are usually expected to be slim, well-proportioned, and toned and are placed under a great deal of pressure to maintain these features. Often, the various aspects of a dance class can potentially lead to a negative body image (37). The pressures of being thin may present negative body images for dance team members (38). A national survey conducted reported that body image concerns continue to be prevalent among American women (39). Levels of body dissatisfaction may also foster negative affect because appearance is a central dimension for women in our culture (40).

While the dangers of distorted body image are present in the dance world,measures to minimize their impact should include coaches who focus on performance rather than personal appearance. Taking an active interest in how their dancers view themselves is critical to a more comprehensive understanding of the causes of body image concern. By further addressing this issue,researchers can also help minimize health risks in female participants as well as reduce body image dissatisfaction.

Limitations & Implications

Limitations to this study include the sample size. In addition, this study investigated indicators of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors rather than clinical diagnoses of eating disorders. Other variables that are contributing factors to the prevalence of disordered eating were not investigated. The results of the EAT-26 test were not intended to diagnose nor suggest an eating or life-threatening disorder; however, the EAT-26 was used because it has proven to be an effective screening tool in identifying eating disorder symptomology and allows for further investigation for treatment.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT

Body image has been the subject of much research conducted in recent years.As a result, body image is now recognized a multidimensional construct with complex aspects, particularly perceptual. The majority of the existing data indicates that body image concerns are prevalent among American females. With the recent phenomenal growth of dance team participation and the increasing number of female participants; a closer examination is warranted. Yet, there is a paucity of research available on dance team participants and their perceptions of their body appearance. Because dance team members wear a designated uniform/outfit, dance to a learned synchronized routine, and perform in front of an audience, they are subjected to visual scrutinization of fans/viewers. The uniqueness of the stressors and demands placed on the dancers complicates this issue. Additional knowledge of how dance team members perceive how they look and what the audience thinks of them in regards to abilities and their physical appearance deserves further investigation. Dealing with such information will not only benefit dance team members body image and self-esteem, but assist coaches and directors in ways to assist young women in resulting body image dissatisfaction.

REFERENCES

1. Thompson, K. (1999). Exacting beauty: Theory, assessment, and treatment of body image disturbance. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

2. Wood, K. C., Becker, J. A., & Thompson, J. K. (1996). Body image dissatisfaction in preadolescent children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17, 85-100.

3. Garner, D. M., Garfinkel, P. E., Schwartz, D., and Thompson, M. (1980). Cultural expectations of thinness in women. Psychological Reports, 47,483-491.

4. Cash, T. F., & Pruzinsky, T. (1990). Body images: development,deviance, and change. New York: NY, Guilford Press.

5. Cash, T. F., & Brown, T. A. (1987). Body image in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: A review of the literature. Behavioral Modification, 11, 487-521.

6. Fallon, A. E. & Rozin, P. (1985). Sex differences in perceptions of desirable body shape. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 94, 102-105.

7. Garner, D. M. & Garfinkel, P. E. (1979). The Eating Attitudes Test:An index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine,9, 273-279.

8. National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (2003). Fact sheet,http://www.ncsacw.samhsa.gov/files/

9. Sundgot-Borgen, J. (1993). Prevalence of eating disorders in elite female athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 3, 29–40.

10. Tiggemann, M., and Slater, A. (2001). A test of objectivity theory informer dancers and non-dancers. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25, 1,57-64.

11. Pierce, E. F., & Daleng, M. L. (1998). Distortion of body image among elite female dancers. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87, 3,769-770.

12. Sowder, K., Hennefer, A., Pemberton, C., & Easterly, D. (2004). Defining “Sport”. Athletic Management, 16.02,February/March.

13. National Federation of State High School Associations(http://www.nfhs.org/)

14. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (http://www.ncaa.org/)

15. Carman, J. (2011). Passing on the Magic. Dance Magazine, 85,12, 50-54.

16. Radell, S. A., Adame, D.D., & Cole, S.P. (2002). The effect of teaching with mirrors on body image and locus of control in women college dancers: A pretest- post test study. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74, 1, A-3.

17. Schneider, D. J. (1974). Effects of dress on self-presentation.Psychological Reports, 35, 1, 167-170.

18. Fredrickson, B. L., Roberts, T., Noll, S. M., Quinn, D.M., & Twenge,J.M. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1, 269-284.

19. Price, B. R., & Pettijohn, T. F. (2006). The effect of ballet dance attire on body and self-perceptions of female dancers. Social Behavior and Personality, 34, 8, 991-998.

20. Garner, D. M., Olmsted, M. P., Bohr, Y., & Garfinkel, P. (1982). The eating attitudes test: Psychometric features and clinical correlates.Psychological Medicine, 12, 871 878.

21. Williamson, D. A., Davis, C. J., Goreczny, A. J., & Blouin, D. C.(1989). Body image disturbances in bulimia nervosa: Influences of actual body size. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 98, 97-99.

22. Stunkard, A., Sorensen, T. & Schulsinger, F. (1983). Use of the Danish adoption register for the study of obesity and thinness. In S. Kety(Ed.), The genetics of neurological and psychiatric disorders (pp.115-120). New York: Raven Press.

23. Thompson, J. K. & Altabe, M. N. (1991). Psychometric qualities of the figure rating scale. International Journal of Eating Disorders,10, 5, 615-619.

24. Smith, D. E., Thompson, J. K., Raczynski, J.M., and Hilner, J. E.(1999). Body image among men and women in a biracial cohort: The CARDIA study.International Journal of Eating Disorders, 25, 1, 71–82.

25. Garner, D. M., Garfinkel, P. E., and O’ Shaughnessy, M. (1985). The validity of the distinction between bulimia with and without anorexia nervosa.American Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 581-587.

26. Flynn, K., & Fitzgibbon, M. (1996). Body images and obesity risk among Black females: A review of the literature. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 1, 13-24.

27. Furnham, A., Badmin, N., & Sneade, I. (2002). Body image dissatisfaction: Gender differences in eating attitudes, self-esteem, and reasons for exercise. The Journal of Psychology, 136, 6, 581-596.

28. Thompson, K. (1996). Assessing body image disturbance: Measures, methodology, and implementation. In J.K. Thompson (Ed.), Body image, eating disorders, and obesity (pp. 49-81). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

29. Jackson, A.S., et al. (1996). Changes in aerobic power of women, ages 20to 64 years. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 28: 884-891.

30. Jackson, A.S., et al. (1990). Prediction of functional aerobic capacity without exercise testing. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,22:863-870.

31. Cash, T. F. (1990). Body images: Development, deviance, and change. Cash, Thomas F. (Ed.); Pruzinsky, Thomas (Ed.); New York, NY, US: Guilford Press, 1990. pp. 51-79.

32. Thompson, J. K., and Smolak, L. (2001). Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth: Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment.2ndEd., Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 389. pp. 54-55.

33. Candy, C. M. & Fee, V.E. (1998). Underlying Dimensions and Psychometric Properties of the Eating Behaviors and Body Image Test for Preadolescent Girls. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 117-127.

34. Collins, M. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among preadolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10,100-108.

35. Tiggemann, M. (1992). Body-size dissatisfaction: Individual differences in age and gender, and relationship with self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 39-43.

36. Demarest, J. & Langer, E. (1996). Perception of body shape by underweight, average, and overweight men and women. Perceptual and MotorSkills, 83, 569- 570.

37. Oliver, W. (2008). Body image in the dance class. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (JOPERD), 79, 5, 18-25.

38. Irving, L. (1990). Mirror images: Effects of the standard of beauty onthe self- and body-esteem of women exhibiting varying levels of bulimic symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 230-242.

39. Cash, F. & Henry, E. (1995). Women’s Body Images: The results of a national survey in the USA. Sex Roles, 33, 19-28.

40. Thompson, K. & Stice, E. (2001). Thin-Ideal Internalization: Mounting Evidence for a New Risk Factor for Body-Image Disturbance and Eating Pathology.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 5, 181-183.

 

The Mentoring Role of High School Girls’ Basketball Coaches in the Collegiate Recruiting Process

ABSTRACT

This study was designed to determine Louisiana high school girls’ basketball coaches’ perceptions of their roles as mentors; the impact coaches have on choices female athletes make regarding attendance in post-secondary education; the type of information possessed by the coaches to assist in these decisions; and whether the coaches perceived additional training related to collegiate recruiting was needed for coaches. Coaches reported a strong belief in their roles as mentors, have a disparity of beliefs regarding what students will face during the recruiting process and believe additional training would benefits themselves, their peers, and their athletes. It was further concluded a deficiency exists in the level of knowledge possessed by the coaches regarding recruiting rules and eligibility requirements

INTRODUCTION

The opportunities for high school girls’ basketball players to obtain college scholarships are plentiful and competitive. Eleven thousand college scholarships are available across the United States for young female athletes. As specialized teachers, coaches of student-athletes have a tremendous chance to influence and to change the lives of the individual under their charge (Nasir & Hand, 2008). According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), of the females who attend college, roughly 50,000 initially attend as or become student-athletes (2009b). For the student-athlete who attempts to use athleticism as a mechanism to garner assistance for college, the pressure to perform at high levels is a daily fact of life (Lawrence, Harrison, & Stone, 2009).

Lough (2001) examined the coaches’ role as mentors at the college level and how that interaction often drives a career choice by a graduating college student. The role mentors played in the study was significant. Issues such as developing relationships, understanding communication anomalies, and providing visible and connected examples of role models were key components driving college athletes to make significant career choices (Lough, 2001). However, no study could be found that addressed the objectives of this study, namely, the mentoring role of high school girls’ basketball coaches in the collegiate recruiting process.

PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

This study examined Louisiana girls’ high school basketball coaches’ perceptions of the mentoring relationship between aspiring basketball players and arguably the person with the most potential to assist the athlete during her collegiate recruiting process: Her high school coach. The objectives were to describe: (1) the coaches’ personal and demographic characteristics; (2) the coaches’ estimates of the collegiate athletic opportunities afforded to their female basketball players; (3) the coaches’ knowledge of academic standards and recruiting requirements for entry into collegiate athletics into the two primary organizations for collegiate basketball, the NCAA and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); (4) the coaches’ perceptions of their role as mentor fortheir female high school athletes; (5) the coaches’ perceptions regarding the collegiate environment that student-athletes may encounter; and (6) the coaches’ perception regarding whether additional training is needed to strengthen the coaches’ knowledge of collegiate recruiting rules.

THEORETICAL/CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Kram’s mentor role theory (1985) provided the framework for this study. Kram indicated that mentoring involved a relationship that enriches individual progress and growth. She indicated that mentoring is comprised of either psychosocial or career components. The psychosocial functions build competence, effectiveness, and identity in the professional roles of mentors and mentees in areas such as role modeling, acceptance, confirmation, friendship, and counseling (Kram, 1985). Kram delineated four sub-areas within the career/professional aspect of the relationship: Exposure and visibility; sponsorship; protection; and coaching. Kram maintained that the relationship increased in benefit to the mentee as the mentor provided more of these functions. Mentoring is not a rigid relationship – mentors may be partially orcompletely meeting the mentor’s needs (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). Mentoring may have a delayed rather than immediate impact and the benefits may be realized over an extended period of time (Kram).

Ragins and Kram (2007) addressed the necessity of more research into the area of the “rising star” effect in a mentor-mentee relationship. In this study, we examined the recruitable athlete who is, in fact, the “rising star” the high school coach mentors on a periodic basis. With the evolved framework of Ragins and Kram (2007) firmly in mind, we examined the perception that the mentor (coach) has in terms of what he or she should be providing to the mentee.

Kram (1985) delineated four stages of the mentee-mentor relationship: Invitation, cultivation, separation, and redefinition. Kram’s theory relates to a 3-8 year relationship between adult professionals. Though our study relates to the relationship between an adult and mid to late teenagers (15-18 year old), the framework is similar. The Kram framework is applicable to the evolving relationship between the coach and his or her athlete who is being recruited to play at the collegiate level.

RELATED LITERATURE

The high school girls’ basketball coach is the focus of this research. The coach stands at the cross roads between the student-athlete and the college and a potentially life altering decision for a young athlete. The coach’s knowledge and perception of their role are critical for the student-athlete.

Coach Behavior and Immediacy

The coach’s influence on the athlete and the interaction between the coach and the athlete is the undergirding aspect in need of exploration. Turman’s (2008) study of the phenomenon of whether the coach’s verbal immediacy had an effect on both the individual and on the team identified a definitive link and a predictor of the satisfaction of the athlete both with the program (team) and with the coach. Turman (2003) also examined the amount of time players spent with and in close physical proximity to a coach. Though the focus of the study was on verbal and non-verbal immediacies, the extrapolation to the coach’s influence is unmistaken.

Donohue, Miller, Crammer, Cross, and Covassin (2007) highlighted the importance of the influence of the coach on the athlete. While the study had a four-pronged approach for measurement (i.e., looking at relationships with teammates, families, peers, and coaches), the primary outcome in relation to this study was the apparent dissatisfaction that a significant number of student-athletes have with their relationships with their coaches. Data indicated a wide area of strengths and weaknesses in the various relationships, but poor relationships with and among coaches are problematic.

Jowett (2005) chronicled a multi-faceted relationship between the coach and the athlete with the broad issue of behavior and interpersonal interactions at the core. Three schools of thought are provided in terms of the level of and depth of the relationship as they relate to the behavior of the coach: Effective versus ineffective relationships; successful versus unsuccessful relationships; and helping relationships. While athletics by its nature is “win oriented,” Jowett (2005) described a level of success that goes to developing a relationship that is both helpful to the coach and to the student.

What Is at Stake?

In addition to the intrinsic reward of earning an athletic scholarship, a great deal of costs and future earnings are also at stake for the student-athlete and within the power of influence by the coach. According to the U.S. government, the average per year cost in an average four-year college is approximately $10,000 per year. Private and some high prestige public institutions cost much more. In the near term, what is at stake is worth an average of $40,000 per student-athlete who earns a full scholarship (U.S. Department of State, 2009).

In the long term, the average lifetime earnings for a college graduate are $1.3 million more than the earnings of an average high school graduate. So, in addition to the near term cost of paying for an education, the college graduate has a better opportunity to earn higher life-time earnings than someone who does not attend college (University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 2009).

College Coaches: What Are They Seeking?

Possibly one of the most critical pieces of information a high school coach can know and be prepared to pass on to student-athletes is what a college coach is looking for when they are recruiting athletes. These traits include motivation/competitiveness, “coachability” (referring to an athlete’s propensity to receive and use instruction in a positive manner), the development potential of the athlete, the influence of the coach, influence of one’s teammates, and miscellaneous contextual influences as identified by Giacobbi et al. (2002) as key elements college coaches and recruiters are seeking in their scholarship athletes.

While these traits may seem like “common sense,” their existence and prevalence need to be communicated to the potential recruit by someone. The question arises as to “how” the future college athlete would know these things intrinsically? The rational assumption is someone would have to impart this knowledge and the ensuing rational step is that the high school coach is the most likely candidate to impart this information to the athlete (Lawrence et al., 2009).

Academic Preparation: Necessity of Preparation and Role of the Coach

A truly critical reality a coach should prepare students for is the rigor of academics at the collegiate level. Though the role of the coach is to prepare a student-athlete for competition at the high school level, this paper has established the fact the massive volume of time spent with the student-athlete affords the coach an unparalleled opportunity to provide both guidance and wisdom in terms of telling the student-athlete what life will be like once she leaves the friendly and comfortable confines of the high school environment.

The literature described in the next few paragraphs provides some startling data and anecdotal but believable stories of experiences of two high school students, Nate Miles and, Bryce Brown, upon reaching the collegiate level. A glaring missing piece in the equation is the role or lack of role high school coaches had in these students’ lives as they prepared to make critical decisions and in the terminal phase of high school as the student-athletes prepared for entry into college.

Thamel (2011) reported on the case of Nate Miles, a prized male recruit who lived an odyssey of an existence as a high school student. The young man who was the focus of the story reportedly moved five times during high school, mostly at the urging of “agent” type personnel who tried to convince the young man he had a great future as a collegiate and professional basketball player. Though Mr. Miles was a great player, the “whole person” concept of a solid student, solid person did not exist, and his path was shortened and blunted because of probable outside influences. The non-existence of a high school coach and mentor to guide the young man through these complicated waters is a gaping hole in the article and the story about a lost opportunity.

Evans and Thamel (2009) also reported on a case of a high profile high school football recruit who had his college career choices altered or denied because of his association with someone who was reportedly acting as his agent. Bryce Brown, a highly prized football player from Kansas had doors closed for him on more than one occasion when his association with a recruiting service raised questions regarding his eligibility. Upon his graduation from high school, Brown appeared to be en route to the University of Miami to play running back for the Miami Hurricanes. This association never materialized because of Brown’s association with a recruiting service. Though not related to basketball per se, the question immediately arises as to if this unfortunate route could have been diverted had Brown been influenced or led bya strong mentor and coach in his high school.

While the specifics of the cases are interesting, the implied lack of information provided to Mr. Brown and Mr. Miles are an indictment of an entire culture that develops around athletes. At the very crux and beginning of this process could be the influences of the high school coaches who guided these young people and helped prepare them for this eventuality.

A contrarian view was provided by Aries, McCarthy, Salovey, and Banaji in their 2009 study of over 1,100 non-athletes and over 400 athletes at two northeastern U.S. colleges. A review of athletes entering these colleges indicated while many entered college with lower academic credentials than their purely academic counterparts, the athletes performed at the norm across the time span of a college career, meaning they more or less achieved the grades and success the over 1,100 non-athlete peers achieved, as measured by entry expectations. In brief, data gathered indicated athletes performed at a level during college that was commensurate with their entry ACT/SAT scores and high school grade point averages. The point reverts back to the information the student-athlete has when she enters college: A coach or some other mentorshould be prepared to provide the student-athlete with this type of information and to make the student-athlete aware of the expectation for academic performance at the collegiate level. The article did not raise the question or influence of the coach or mentor who could have prepared the students for the eventualities of the college experience.

In a study similar to Adler and Adler’s earlier (1985) study, Horton (2009) drew some interesting conclusions based on a national qualitative study of 17 junior college athletes. The application to this study is compelling. Horton highlighted a perception at the junior college level that coaches and administrators were important both in academics and athletics. He emphasized the need for strong involvement from the academic side to support the athletic side and summarized the perceptions of students regarding the importance of academics and the faculty apparatus for the junior college student. Many of the issues faced and related in earlier literature citations were related by the students in Horton’s (2009) study, undergirding the assumption that preparation is the key for success in the post high schoollearning environment.

Harrison et al. (2009) described the perceptions of 88 male and female athletes on what would happen to them academically at the collegiate level. The study predicted and data affirmed that females at the collegiate level performed more poorly after their academic and athletic identities were linked by personnel on the campus. The inferred interpretation is these students were probably unaware of the pressures from academia that would become realities at the college level above and beyond which they found at the high school level. Oftentimes, students can be put on pedestals as high school athletes and given a pass or not have to worry about performing at the high school level (Stevens, 2006).

Though negative inputs and things to be “aware” of have made up the review of literature to this point, it should be noted that the inputs provided by a coach can not only help a student-athlete avoid bad things, but it can help a student-athlete understand some things that will work to her advantage during the recruiting process. Harrison et al. (2009) conducted an investigation of issues related to the recruiting of high profile athletes which produced some remarkable results. Though the survey was primarily aimed at high profile, African American male athletes, data was collected that related to and is relevant to the recruiting of female athletes.

Harrison et al.’s (2009) study codified a perception that many have suspected or observed casually through the years, primarily that prized recruits are given ‘red carpet’ or preferential treatment in the recruiting process, especially when the athlete shows up on campus for an official or unofficial visit. While this may be true, the knowledge of this reality could be easily used to the advantage of the student-athlete who desires entry into a more high profile or exclusive college. Phillips (2009) also addressed this subject and found preferential treatment for student-athletes in Alabama.

The Recruitment Process: Potential for Confusion

Lopez (1998) described the complexities and intensities of the recruitment process in a 1998 feature entitled Full Court Press. The experiences of a small number of highly recruited athletes are explained and chronicled. The details of the complexities of being recruited incessantly were described in the article as almost a warning to the parents, students, and coaches who will be on the receiving end of the process. The article described massive volumes of letters, phone calls, and the presence of coaches and scouting directors at events during the summer after a junior year and during the athlete’s senior year.

Along these same lines, Klungseth (2005) crafted an article which summarized the five most important recruiting rules a high school coach should know. Though broad in nature and covering overall NCAA rules, it does provide important details for basketball coaches. The article provides a concise overview of information high school coaches should be appraised of with regards to propriety and legality (in terms of the NCAA) during the recruiting process. The five items, while seemingly “common sense”, have acute and subtle meanings and definitions within the parameters of the NCAA guidelines. The rules and their applicability are the types of things that coaches should be fully apprised of if the day arrives when they have a recruitable athlete at their high school. Specifically, the rules/areas of concern listedare (1) limits on phone calls and contacts; (2) representatives of athletic interests; (3) offers and inducements; (4) official visits; and (5) national letters of intent. Within each of the five areas, more specific, sport specific rules are outlined and delineated. Though the information is simple on the face, the overlapping nature of issues such as school year guidelines (i.e., what happens during a junior year versus a senior year) are spelled out, sport specific rules are delineated, and references to NCAA publications are also provided.

The information relayed in the article is critical, but the question the article raises is how broadly is this information disseminated? How many high school coaches across the nation and across the state are aware of these specifics? Do coaches know the ramifications of recruiting guideline violations? Are coaches prepared to guide students through this complicated process?

Necessity for Enhanced Training, Certification or Mentorship

A key component of the study is to determine whether additional training is necessary for coaches. Review of the literature found no direct recommendations or studies tied to this train of thought. However, some studies have been conducted which broadly address the need for training and certification.

Maetozo (1971) published a series of essays addressing the need for certification of high school and junior high school coaches. He addressed the issue from the perspective of the need for standards in hiring and employing coaches. Several conclusions were drawn regarding the necessity of bringing in qualified individuals to lead athletes, with the primary conclusion being that states should consider establishment of certification programs to ensure qualified and competent individuals are hired as coaches. Outlines were provided as recommendations for states to use in implementation and statements were made that “several states” had initiated the programs, but the states were not delineated. It should be noted that the college recruiting process was not mentioned whatsoever in this article. Also, no evidencewas available in reviewing literature that any national or cohesive state certification programs had been adopted.

Bloom, Durand-Bush, Schinke, and Salmela (1998) addressed the issue of mentoring across a wide girth of sports in the country. As with the Maetozo study, a broad brush was used in the approach, but general applicability can be drawn. The key issue of coaches mentoring athletes was addressed and at length, with conclusions drawn regarding the necessity and benefit for the athlete. Of note, however, was that the authors highlighted a possible need for formalized mentoring programs.

Deficiencies/Limitations in Literature

There appears to be a significant gap in both the research conducted and the scholarly articles published in the areas of demographics of college athletes. Deficiencies were also noted in the areas of characterizations and analyses of coaches. Searches were conducted to characterize and codify the experience levels of coaches across the nation, and little was found. We sought to analyze the level of involvement and mentoring done by coaches with experience levels of coaches being held as independent variable, but little was uncovered in the review of literature. Additionally, we sought to uncover data on knowledge of coaches regarding recruiting rules and entry requirements for college-bound athletes, but little was found.

METHOD

The target and accessible population for this study was defined as all head coaches of girls’ basketball teams in Louisiana whose schools are members of the High School Athletic Association (HSAA). A random sample was drawn of head coaches of girls’ basketball teams in the state whose host/sponsor schools were members of the association in the Fall during the 2010-2011 academic school year. The minimum returned sample size (n = 119) was determined based on Cochran’s Sample Size Formula (Snedecor & Cochran, 1988). Since a return rate as low as 40% was anticipated, the sample size for the study was set at 224. No instrument which met the needs of the study could be located in the research literature; therefore, an instrument was developed by the research team that addressed the objectives of the study.Embedded within the instrument was an information inventory which measured coach perceptions and knowledge bases.

DATA COLLECTION

A multiple-phase approach was employed to collect data. The sample for the study was randomly selected from a master list of coaches in the state obtained from the state HSAA. The list consisted of coaches’ names, schools, physical mail addresses and electronic mail (email) addresses for each coach. We then proceeded with the pre-determined contact procedures. Two data collections letters with instruments were sent to the sample. For both mailed data collections, notification emails were transmitted to the sample by the research team as recommended by Kent and Turner (2003). Also in each instance, we sought and received the assistance of highly respected coaches who sent an e-mail message to all coaches in the research sample in which they endorsed the concept and encouraged participation in the project. In addition,in the second mailing, we included a single, dollar bill as an incentive and to incite additional attention to our survey packet on the part of potential respondents.

Personalized follow up phone calls to a random sample of non respondents were conducted to determine if the mail respondents were representative of the population as recommended by Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003). Twenty six (n=26) coaches in the random sample of 50 non-respondents returned the questionnaire. Independent samples t-tests were used to compare the means for key variables for the responses received during the telephone follow-up to those received by mail as recommended by Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003). No significant differences existed in the responses. Since no significant differences existed between the mail and telephone follow-up responses, it was concluded that the responses appeared to accurately represent the population of head girls’ high school basketball coaches in the state. The mail responses werecombined with the responses received as a result of the telephone follow-up for further analyses. The final response rate was 128 (57.14%) out of the 224 coaches in the random sample and this number exceeded the minimum of 119 responses required for the study.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In data related to the first research objective, we discovered the population of coaches in the surveyed state was generally white, male, educated, and experienced. Over half (56%) of the head coaches in the state were male, 72% were Caucasian, the average head coach had 8.5 years of experience as a head coach, 15.2 years as a coach and 14.9 years as a classroom teacher. Slightly over two-thirds of the coaches (64%) reported having a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education.

In the second objective, coaches in the state reported an average of 8.0 students during their career that had been recruited to play college basketball. We clarified the meaning of “being recruited” as a student-athlete receiving a letter, email, phone call or other direct interest by a NCAA or NAIA college or university. Further, the coaches reported 4.4 of their players having signed national letters of intent to play college basketball. Most of the coaches (76%) had at least one player who had been recruited during their career. However, only 25% of coaches reported having 10 or more players who had been recruited during the coaches’ career and 11% reported having 10 or more players who had signed national letters of intent to play at the collegiate level.

Of note was the relative scarcity of coaches having athletes who had been recruited. On the surface, one athlete per year who is recruited and each coach averages one every other year that signs a letter of intent or gains a scholarship, which seems like a fairly frequent occurrence. However, given the volume of students a teacher has in a classroom environment throughout the year or on a single or multiple sports teams, a single athlete every year or one every other year seems like a fairly rare occurrence.

In the third objective, the study also sought to describe the level of knowledge possessed by coaches regarding academic standards and requirements for entry into collegiate athletics in the two, primary playing organizations for collegiate basketball, the NCAA and NAIA (see Table 1). This was accomplished by administering a 10 question Information Inventory of basic entry and recruiting rules for athletes ascending into the two types of institutions. The mean score on the 10 question inventory was 5.52 (SD=1.88), suggesting the population of coaches in the state has some knowledge of entry and recruiting rules in the NCAA and NAIA, but gaps exist across the domain of institution types and playing levels. All items possessed strong item discrimination power according to the standards proposed by Bott (1996).

Over half of the coaches correctly answered questions related to the NCAA Division I entry and requirements. Responses indicated very strong understanding of ACT and grade point average requirements (81.3%) and a strong understanding of core curriculum requirements (64.8%). They also demonstrated a solid, consistent knowledge of recruiting and contact requirements and limitations (62.5% & 69.5%). The fact that all four questions directly related to Division I requirements had a majority of coaches answer correctly seems to indicate knowledge is more widely disseminated or there is more interest in those requirements than in other playing institutions.

Coaches were less familiar with Division II, Division III and NAIA requirements. For the three questions related to Division II, the participants correctly answered over 60% of the time for only one of the three questions and that instance was an overlapping question that was also applicable to Division I (types of communication that may not be used). In questions strictly dedicated to Division II, coaches answered correctly 32.8% of the time when asked about entry requirements (number of core courses required) and 56.3% of the time when asked about grade and ACT requirements. This deficiency was a stark drop off from the higher number of correct answers for questions related for Division I schools. Similar, if not more striking contrasts were drawn in certain areas related to Division III and NAIA requirements. Questionsrelated to Division III and NAIA recruiting rules registered responses as low as 21.9% and 30%.

The fourth objective sought to describe the coaches’ perceptions regarding their role in guiding and mentoring recruitable athletes under their tutelage (see Table 2). A four point, Likert-type scale was used to measure the coach’s perception of his role as a mentor to recruitable athletes. The Cronbach’s alpha for the scale was .88, which indicates the scale possessed extensive reliability (Robinson et al., 1991). Coaches gave their highest ratings to three questions: “I should be able to explain what it takes to become a recruitable athlete” (M = 3.74); “I should be a mentor to my recruitable players” (M = 3.71); and “I should assist my recruitable athletes in being prepared for the rigors of the college academic as well as athletic environment” (M = 3.56).Although the coaches still agreed with this item, the lowest rated item was “I should help recruitable athletes make wise life decisions such as choosing the correct college” (M = 3.713.22). Data related to this objective are found in Table 2.

The sixth objective was to measure perceptions with regard to whether new or additional training was considered necessary in terms of preparing or enhancing the coach’s knowledge base in recruiting related activities. As with the fifth objective, a Likert-type scale was used to measure the coach’s perception of whether new or enhanced training or certification would be beneficial to the coaches in general, to new coaches specifically, to the individual coach or to students in the coach’s school. The Cronbach’s alpha for the scale was .88, which indicates the scale possessed exemplary reliability (Robinson et al., 1991).

The coaches measured consistently in favor of enhanced training or certification in this section of the instrument. The coaches agreed with all five items in this scale. The lowest rated item was, “Additional certification or training requirements for high school coaches are necessary to ensure entry level coaches have the knowledge they need about the college recruiting process prior to entering a coaching position” (M = 2.86). All remaining questions registered above a 3.0 on the Likert-type scales. The intent of these questions was to assess what coaches believed regarding the necessity for training. The scale mean was M = 3.07 (SD =.57) which indicated that the coaches agreed that additional training was needed. Data from this objective are in Table 3.

CONCLUSIONS

The conclusions for this study apply only to high school girls’ basketball coaches in Louisiana.

Conclusions for Objective One: Coaches’ Characteristics

It is concluded the gender and ethnicity of the typical girls’ basketball coaches in the studied state are male and white, respectively. This conclusion is based on the finding that approximately 70% of girls’ basketball coaches are Caucasian and 56% are males. This conclusion is in contrast to the population in the State, where Caucasians (not including Hispanic origin) in the state was reported as 61% and African American as 32% in 2010, (United States Government, 2010). It is concluded coaches have the same level of education as their non-coaching, teacher counterparts. This conclusion is based on data gathered during the study and is consistent with State’s public statistics which indicate 35.9 percent of public school teachers in have a master’s degree or higher. Thirty-six percent of coachesin this survey reported having a degree above the bachelors level (MS, MS+30 or doctoral level).

It is concluded that female high school basketball players in the state are led by an experienced cadre of coaches. With an average of 15 years in the classroom, 15 years as a coach and nearly 9 years as a head coach, it is apparent that the state’s girls’ basketball players are coached by experienced personnel.

Conclusion for Objective Two: Athletes Who Were Recruited, Signed, or Accepted Scholarships

It is concluded that coaches routinely encounter recruitable athletes, but do not encounter an overwhelming number of athletes who are recruited or signed to become college basketball players. On average, a head coach has just under one student-athlete per year who receives recruiting interest from an NCAA or NAIA school, making this occurrence not rare, but also not a predominant action in the life of a coach. The figure of one student-athlete per year was derived by comparing the average number of players recruited (M = 8.59) to the characterization in Objective One in which it was revealed the average head coach in the state has been in his or her position for approximately nine years. This conclusion is in contrast to the analysis reported by the National High School Center (2009) which indicated that one in six schoolswill experience a scholarship type student-athlete on an annual basis. There is a deficiency of data concerning the average number of athletes that coaches have contact with who are recruited, sign letters of intent, or garner scholarships.

Conclusion for Objective Three: Knowledge of NCAA & NAIA Recruiting Rules.

It is concluded coaches have limited knowledge of recruiting rules and entry requirements among the four types of playing levels for recruitable athletes. This conclusion is based on the finding that the coaches test score was 52% (out of a possible 100%) on an Information Inventory which asked questions about NCAA Division I, II, III (NCAA, 2009a) and NAIA (NAIA, 2010) entry requirements and recruiting rules. This conclusion conflicts with the framework proposed by Kram (1985) which pre-supposes the mentor will possess a superior knowledge of key areas of importance to a mentee. The conclusion also is in contrast to the rules Klungseth (2005) cited as important for coaches.

Conclusion for Objective Four: Coach’s Role

It is concluded coaches believe they have a role across a range of responsibilities in terms of mentoring their recruitable athletes. This conclusion is supported by Jowett (2005) and Donohue et al. (2007) who found that the relationship between the athlete and the coach during the recruiting process is critical. On the Likert-type scale used in this portion of the research study, the respondents registered their highest collective score, 3.72 out of 4.0, strongly agreeing their roles as mentors were real, important and wide ranging. Of concern: It is illuminating to compare the acknowledgment for an across the board need and benefit for new training with the relatively poor results achieved by the coaches in the Information Inventory. It is also encouraging to compare this eagerness for training with the resolute agreementamong coaches regarding their roles as mentors.

Conclusion for Objective Five: Expectations Regarding Collegiate Environment

It is concluded coaches believe treatment for athletes at the collegiate level will be composed of both mildly negative treatment and mildly positive preferential treatment. This conclusion is based on the finding that coaches believe athletes will face both negative stigmas (2.61 on 4.0 Likert-type scale) and encounter positive preferential treatment (2.52 on 4.0 Likert-type scale) while in college, simply because they are athletes. The coaches indicated an understanding that the environment an athlete will face will have inequities and athletes could face both positive and negative treatments. This finding is consistent with and illustrative of the cases of Nat Miles (Thamel, 2011) and Bryce Brown (Evans and Thamel), both athletes whose lives took unfortunate turns because they were probably not well informed of collegiateexpectations. While coaches were consistent in their views on this topic; there were no strong positive or negative feelings on the topic.

Conclusion for Objective Six: Necessity for Additional Training for the State’s High School Basketball Coaches

It is concluded coaches believe additional training for themselves and their peers is necessary and this training would benefit both coaches and athletes. This conclusion was based on the concurrence provided by the coaches (3.07 on 4.0 Likert-type scale) in the research indicating the need for additional training for themselves, their peers and the benefit training would provide their schools and athletes. The coaches indicated a belief that additional training or certification would be beneficial for themselves, their peers and recruitable athletes. In the strongest level of concurrence within this objective (3.27 out of 4.0) the coaches indicated a belief that all coaches would benefit by additional training and certification, indicating a consistency across the population that this was necessary. The weakest level ofconcurrence (2.86 out of 4.0) was related to the question of whether or not training was needed for entry-level coaches. This conclusion was consistent with Maetozo’s (1971) and Bloom et al.’s (1998), recommendations and discussions of the need for training and certification.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND APPLICATIONS IN SPORTS

Coaches were the primary focus of this research, and data in this report should be illuminating to them. The information should also be applicable to athletic directors and to HSAAs that administer state-wide programs. It is apparent that HSAAs should examine the necessity for an enhanced training or certification program for girls’ high school basketball coaches. Several key facts established in the study merged to drive this recommendation. First of all, coaches registered solid concurrence that: (A) They believe their roles as mentors are important; and (B) They believe additional training would be beneficial to themselves, their peers and their students. These two facts, standing alone, indicate both recognition of the critical role of the coach and a self-reflection regarding a necessity for self and communityimprovement.

Secondly, results from the Information Inventory indicate a deficiency in the knowledge base of recruiting rules and requirements. No evidence or literature was found which provided an indication coaches have any formal training on the recruiting rules and entry requirements for athletes who play basketball in the NCAA or NAIA. The researchers recommend additional training or certification could be in order for the population of coaches and that this training could result in benefits for girls’ basketball players.

Even though coaches expressed the need for additional training or certification, a concern exists regarding the apparently low number of athletes who signed national letters of intent or garnered scholarships. On average, a coach has one athlete each year that is the subject of recruiting attention and has one who receives a scholarship or signs a national letter of intent every other year. With figures this low, the question to be posed is whether additional training is truly merited to enhance or potentially help such a small number of athletes. Though the coaches believe additional training would be beneficial, a cost-benefit analysis would have to be made to determine the utility of such a new program or mandate.

It is recommended the knowledge base of all coaches throughout the state be assessed, with possible expansion to coaches across the south or the country. Though this study was focused on girls’ basketball coaches, the entire population of coaches in the state may benefit from additional training or certification. The snap shot of coaches in one sport indicates a possible deficiency in knowledge but a willingness to learn and recognition that more training could be valuable. The existence of this limitation in one sport in a Southern state could be a clarion reminder that many student-athletes are not getting the information or, more importantly, the mentoring they need to ascend to a higher level of education and thus a better life.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

None

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Table 1.  Correct Responses to the Head Girls’ Basketball Coaches Information Inventory

Test item Correct responses
  n %
In order for an athlete to be ruled eligible for NCAA Division I athletics immediately after high school, the athlete must achieve the following: Answer Choices:
A: An ACT score of 18
B: Graduate w/a GPA of 3.5 on 4.0 scale
C: Have combination GPA & ACT on “Sliding Scale”
D: Have a GPA of at least 3.0 and in top 45% of graduating class

104

81.3

Which of the following institution types does not offer athletic scholarships? a Answer Choices:
A: NAIA
B: NCAA Division III
C: NCAA Division II
D: NCAA Division I

91

71.1

The type of communication that may not be used by an NCAA coach to communicate with a recruitable athlete is: Answer Choices:
A: Texting
B: Email
C: Land line phone calls
D: Cell phone calls

89

69.5

How many core courses does the NCAA require an athlete to complete prior to entering any Division I college or university? Answer Choices:
A: 12
B: 14
C: 15
D: 16

83

64.8

According to NCAA recruiting calendar, the first time a Division I NCAA women’s basketball coach may place a telephone call to a recruitable athlete is:  Answer Choices:
A: At the end of athlete’s junior year
B: At the end of athlete’s sophomore year
C: At the end of the athlete’s senior year
D: Never

80

62.5

In order for an athlete to be ruled eligible at a NAIA institution, the athlete must achieve the following.  Answer Choices:
A: A minimum ACT score of 21
B: A minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
C: Meet 2 of 3 minimum standards in 3 broad categories
D: Have minimum GPA of 2.0 and minimum ACT sum score of 68

78

60.9

In order for an athlete to be ruled eligible for NCAA Division II athletics immediately after high school, the athlete must achieve the following:  Answer Choices:
A: A minimum ACT score of 18
B: GPA of at least 3.5 on 4.0 scale
C: Have combination of minimum GPA and class ranking
D: Have minimum GPA and a minimum sum score of 68

72

56.3

How many core courses does the NCAA require an athlete to complete prior to entering any Division II college or university?   Answer Choices:
A: 12
B: 14
C: 15
D: 16

42

32.8

Which statement below describes contact rules for NCAA Division III coaches in terms of making direct contact with recruitable high school athletes? Answer Choices:
A: There are no restrictions
B: Contact may be initiated prior to the end of the sophomore year
C: Contact may only be initiated by prospective student
D: Contact in prohibited

39

30.5

A recruitable high school athlete may sign a Letter of Intent to play for an NAIA institution: Answer Choices:
A: At any time
B: After the student’s junior year
C: Only during the student’s senior year
D: Only after the student’s senior year

28

21.9

Note. For the Information Inventory:  M=5.52, SD=1.88, N=127.  Correct answer choices are bolded and underlined.
aOf the 36 coaches who answered this question incorrectly, 34 identified the NAIA as being the type of institution which does not offer athletic scholarships, which was incorrect.

Table 2.    Coaches’ Perceptions of Their Role as the Head Girls’ Basketball Coach for Recruitable Athletes

Statement’s about coaches’ role

N

M

SD

Interpretation

I should be able to explain to an athlete what is required to become a recruitable athlete

128

3.74

.49

Strongly agree

I should be a mentor to my recruitable players.

128

3.71

.55

Strongly agree

I should assist my recruitable athletes in being prepared for the rigors of the college academic as well as athletic environment?

128

3.56

.54

Strongly agree

I should assist my recruitable athletes in preparing for the pressures of collegiate athletics?

128

3.49

.60

Agree

I should assist my recruitable athletes in marketing themselves (e.g., send out letters of endorsement, make video highlights, etc.).

128

3.42

.64

Agree

I should help recruitable athletes make wise life decisions such as choosing the correct college

128

3.22

.76

Agree

Coach’s Role Scale:

128

3.52

.42

Strongly agree

Note. Scale ranged from 1 = “Strongly Disagree” to 4 = “Strongly Agree.  Alpha = .79.

Table 3.    Need for Additional Training on Collegiate Athletic Recruitment Rules

Coaches believed

N

M

SD

Interpretation

Additional training for high school coaches is necessary to ensure coaches stay up-to-date on current college recruiting rules/regulations/trends.  128

3.27

.70

Agree

I would benefit from an additional training program for coaches that would keep you up to date on college recruiting rules/regulations/trends.  128

3.10

.64

Agree

Athletes in my school would benefit from a training program that would keep coaches up to date on college recruiting rules/regulations/trends.  128

3.08

.68

Agree

My school would benefit from an additional training program to keep coaches up to date on college recruiting rules/regulations/trends.  128

3.05

.62

Agree

Additional certification or training requirements for high school coaches are necessary to ensure entry level coaches have the knowledge they need about the college recruiting process prior to entering a coaching position.  128

2.86

.76

Agree

Necessity for Additional Training scale:

128

3.07

.57

Agree

Note. Scale ranged from 1 = “Strongly Disagree” to 4 = “Strongly Agree.  Alpha = .88.

Female Representation within Intercollegiate Athletics Departments

ABSTRACT

The experiences of female employees have differed from males with regard to access to and ascension through a sport organization. Numerous structural and cultural factors could impact these experiences. The purpose of this study was to gain insight from females employed in intercollegiate athletics administration in order to identify factors that have impacted female representation within this field. Eleven females employed at three NCAA Division I institutions located in the Southern United States participated in this study. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The framework for this study was shaped by social role and role congruity theories. Participants attributed work-family conflict, gender ideologies, and informal social networks as factors that have influenced female representation within thisprofession.

 

INTRODUCTION

Sport has been labeled the “generic preserve of men” because many sport organizations have been male dominated, especially with regard to management of these organizations (30, 7). Most managerial positions have been occupied by a Caucasian, Protestant, able-bodied, heterosexual male (14, 28). On the other hand, female presence in managerial capacities within sport organizations has not been as widespread.

Explanations with regard to reasons why females have not held the majority of management positions in sport organizations have been offered. One explanation is that sport organizations are settings that often reflect societal attitudes and beliefs (2, 25, 17, 23). Society has traditionally characterized females as caring, good at organizing, and domestically oriented (6). They are also perceived to be empathetic communicators but are not aggressive nor are they “big picture” thinkers. Conversely, it has been argued that males hold managerial positions because society perceives men as natural leaders who have the ability to see the overall vision of an organization (28). Although females have held management positions in numerous sport organizations, the practice of placing them in roles thought of as“appropriate” to their gender has been argued to occur as a result of these attitudes (21, 26, 27). For example, appropriate positions have been described as those related to “housekeeping” roles of management. These roles have been described as those not requiring proficiency in leadership and decision-making but rather emphasizing caring and empathy (12, 11).

The influence of socially constructed meanings associated with gender and perceived congruity or incongruity between these meanings and role fulfillment could also be useful in explaining female representation within sport organizations. Aggressive, ambitious, dominant, forceful, independent, self-sufficient, and self-confident are characteristics attributed to masculinity. On the other hand, caring, kind, and sympathetic are characteristics attributed to femininity (11). Since males are expected to be dominant and aggressive, they would be assumed to be compatible with roles connected to directing others. Since females are expected to demonstrate kindness and sensitivity, they would be assumed to be compatible with roles that involve caring, nurturing, or giving support (9, 8). If an individual fulfills roles that alignwith socially constructed characteristics of masculinity and femininity, role congruity has been achieved (10). Conversely, incongruity would exist if the individual fulfilled a role that did not align with socially constructed masculine or feminine characteristics. As a result of these assumptions, individuals in decision-making capacities at sport organizations might hire and/or promote an individual based on perceptions of congruity between the individual and the role that must be fulfilled.

The field of intercollegiate athletics administration was selected for this study because little research has been devoted to an understanding of why women are underrepresented in key leadership positions in college athletics (24). Overall, females hold nearly 36% of the administrative positions within intercollegiate athletics departments in the United States (1). Although there is a presence of females in this profession, they are present in various roles and operating areas to a larger extent than others. With regard to the position of athletics director, females hold approximately 20% of athletics directors’ positions at NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions (1). Female representation in the athletics director position is lowest at NCAA Division I institutions. These institutions typically incur the highestoperating costs and generate the highest revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and television contracts (7). Approximately 11% of athletics directors at such institutions are female.

Within this profession, there are certain operating units that are directed in large part by females and others that are directed in large part by males. For example, sports information and operations are areas where males have occupied the vast majority of leadership positions. Sport information directors are responsible for overseeing the maintenance and dissemination of statistical data compiled during athletics competition. Operations directors are primarily responsible for the coordination of maintaining athletics facilities. Approximately 88% of sports information directors and approximately 87% of facility/operations directors at NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions are male (19).

On the other hand, females are represented to a greater extent than males within other operating areas. Academic advising, compliance, and student success/life skills are areas in which the highest percentages of females serve in leadership capacities. Academic advisers and life skills coordinators assist student-athletes with creating their course schedules and help prepare them for life after graduation. Compliance directors ensure the athletics department is compliant with NCAA regulations. Nearly 62% of academic advising units within NCAA Division I, II and III athletics departments are lead by a female. Approximately 54% of all compliance coordinators are female. Lastly, nearly 72% of life skills coordinators are female (19).

In summation, females have a significant presence inside numerous operating areas within the profession of intercollegiate athletics administration but are largely absent from others. In order to gain further insight into possible reasons that have resulted in various levels of female representation in this setting, the perspectives of females employed in this environment were sought. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to gain insight from females employed in intercollegiate athletics administration in order to identify factors that have impacted female representation within this profession.

METHOD

Participants

Because the purpose of this study was to investigate female intercollegiate athletics department employees’ perceptions of factors affecting female representation within their profession, it was important to select participants who could help the investigators achieve this purpose. Purposeful criterion sampling was the first strategy utilized in order to acquire participants for this study. Within purposeful criterion sampling, all cases must meet some pre-determined criterion of importance (22). A second form of purposeful sampling, homogeneous sampling, was utilized. Homogeneous sampling includes selecting similar cases in order to describe some subgroup in depth (16). Female administrators who were employed at intercollegiate athletics departments fit the desired criteria and were selected for this study.

Eleven females employed at three NCAA Division I institutions located in the Southern United States participated in this study. The ages of the participants ranged from 25-53 years. One participant identified herself as African American. Ten identified themselves as Caucasian. Five worked at university “A,” three at university “B,” and three at university “C.” One athletics director, one associate athletics director, one assistant athletics director, and two coordinators from university “A” participated. One associate athletics director, one assistant athletics director, and one coordinator from university “B” participated. Lastly, one assistant athletics director and two coordinators from university “C” participated.

Several operating areas were represented within the participant pool. One of the associate athletics directors was in charge of financial operations. The other associate athletics director oversaw facility and event operations. Two of the assistant athletics directors were in charge of marketing/promotions and one of the assistant athletics directors managed development and fundraising initiatives. Three of the coordinators directed the compliance programs within their respective departments. Two coordinators managed student-athlete academic services.

The length of time each participant was employed within intercollegiate athletics varied. The athletics director served in this field for just over 30 years. The associate athletics directors’ length of service varied from 15 to 20 years. The assistant athletics directors reported lengths of service between six to 12 years. The coordinators were employed in this profession between three and seven years.

Data Collection

After receiving institutional review board approval, the process of acquiring participants began. Potential participants for this study were located through an initial search of each institution’s athletics department web site. Each female administrator in the department was invited to participate in the study via a written letter. The purpose of the study and time commitment associated with participation was provided. Recipients of this letter were asked to respond with their interest via e-mail and were informed that follow-up correspondence would occur via e-mail in the event a response was not received. Six recipients responded to the written letter. The follow-up e-mail was sent approximately two weeks after the initial letters were mailed. Five additional employees agreed to participate after the follow-upe-mail was sent. These eleven individuals were contacted a second time via e-mail in order to arrange an interview at a time and date convenient to them.

Data focusing upon participants’ perceptions of factors affecting female representation in this profession were collected through qualitative measures. This method of inquiry was utilized in order to obtain descriptive data that would allow for a better understanding of the factors participants perceived as significant with regard to position fulfillment in this profession. The data collection method in this study was a semi-structured interview. Interviews were audio taped and lasted between 45-60 minutes. Participants were interviewed individually. When possible, interviews were conducted in a face-to-face format. Several participants were not available to meet in person for their interview. In those cases, interviews were conducted over the telephone. Interviews were conducted in a conference-call style in a securelocation so that only the investigators could hear the participants’ responses. The interview began with a series of pre-formatted, closed-end questions. Examples of closed-end questions included: “How long have you been employed in the profession of intercollegiate athletics administration?” and “What operating areas have you worked in as an employee within this profession?”

As the interview progressed, the investigators encouraged the participant to elaborate on their experiences as well as share their perspectives. Throughout the interview, probing questions were asked in order to obtain further detail and elaboration from the participant. An example of a question that was designed to encourage further elaboration was “Why do you believe females are represented in various operating areas within intercollegiate athletics departments more so than others?” The goal associated with asking these questions was to gain insight into factors they perceived were significant with regard to employment trends and opportunities for females within this profession. Upon completion of the interview, participants were asked debriefing questions. In addition, they chose a pseudonym. All names usedin this study were pseudonyms selected by the participants.

Data Analysis

Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Analytic induction was the approach that was utilized in this study in order to analyze interview data. An inductive approach is utilized when some specific problem, question, or issue becomes the focus of research. When utilizing this approach, the researcher does not attempt to prove or disprove hypotheses held prior to entering the study (4). The primary focus of this research was not to prove or disprove a hypothesis but rather gain insight into female intercollegiate athletics administrators’ perceptions of factors that have affected female representation in their profession.

After the interviews were transcribed, open and axial coding was utilized in order to sort the interview data into categories. Coding is a method of sorting descriptive data that has been collected so that it may be more easily referenced and retrievable at a later time (4). Open coding was the first activity that was practiced in this process. Basic concepts and themes were identified and the data were broken down, examined, and compared. During the open coding process, the authors identified keywords and statements that reoccurred in the interviews.

Once these reoccurring keywords or statements from the interviews were located, the next step was to place this content from the interview data into various categories. Axial coding was utilized in order to reassemble the data that were broken down during the open coding process. Through axial coding, categories were established and then refined in order to further organize and form a precise representation of the participants’ perceptions with regard to factors that have affected female representation within intercollegiate athletics administration.

Upon completion of the open and axial coding processes, a constant comparative method was utilized. A constant comparative method of data analysis entails the simultaneous process of coding and analyzing in order to develop emerging themes (15, 29). As data were analyzed, it was constantly reviewed to ensure the emerging themes accurately reflected the participants’ responses.

An important component of qualitative inquiry includes establishing trustworthiness (16). This process entails utilizing various procedures in order to convince the reader that measures were taken to ensure the material s/he is reading is consistent with what the participants actually said and experienced (22). Trustworthiness can be accomplished through a number of techniques. The techniques of peer debriefing and member checking were utilized in this study.

Peer debriefing includes external reflection and input into the researcher’s work (16). Two colleagues experienced in qualitative inquiry examined the transcripts as well as the manuscript and subsequently provided feedback. These individuals confirmed the content in the manuscript was an accurate representation of the content in the interview transcripts.

The process of member checking allows participants to confirm their statements were reported accurately (16). Each participant was provided with a copy of the transcript and manuscript. Participants were requested to analyze the documents in order to ensure their statements were reported accurately. All of the participants responded to a request for feedback and indicated their statements in the transcript and manuscript were recorded accurately.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to gain insight from female athletics administration employees in order to identify factors that have impacted female representation within intercollegiate athletics departments. Three themes emerged from the participants’ responses. The themes were: (a) work-family conflict, (b) gender ideologies and the “natural” fit, and (c) male dominated social networks.

Work-family Conflict

Females often assume the majority of domestic responsibilities in the household. In order to be perceived as committed to an organization, however, employees are expected to manage their domestic responsibilities in such a fashion so that they do not interfere with work responsibilities (18). Maintaining domestic responsibilities while fulfilling occupational responsibilities could be especially difficult because the employee might be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays as well as travel frequently (5).

Work-family incompatibilities were repeatedly stated as a reason why participants believed females hold few of the management positions within various operating areas. Several participants indicated that extended hours and travel are significant aspects of their jobs and mentioned that females who work in this profession oftentimes leave because the quantity of hours spent on occupational obligations prevents them from fulfilling their domestic responsibilities. In order to stay in the profession, many female employees have elected to not start families of their own. Keri was a compliance coordinator within her department. She discussed how senior administrators in her department who have been in the profession for a number of years are single. She attributed their longevity to the fact that they have minimal domesticresponsibilities. She said,

I think for a lot of women, where it becomes important is do you want a family or a career?

I think one of our senior administrators out of 4 or 5 is married. I had a female boss at

another school and she didn’t get married until she was 40. She’s a senior manager, but for

40 years of her life it was either have a family or have a career, which is ultimately what it

comes down to.

As mentioned earlier, females working in this profession are represented within several operating areas more so than others. Academic advising, compliance, and student services have the highest percentages of female representation (19). A reason that was given with regard to why females are employed in these operating areas results from the schedule associated with particular positions. Lisa, an assistant athletics director in charge of marketing activities, acknowledged that females with families of their own manage these operating areas more often than others because of the required work schedule. She said,

Positions such as academic advising that don’t require you to travel or work on weekends

may be more appealing to women who are also mothers. I would also say that women that

don’t have families are more likely to take positions that are not overly represented by

women.

The demands of the profession and potential work-family incompatibilities that could occur might not only cause many females to leave the profession but also prevent them from entering. Barbara was the athletics director in her department. She believed the occupational demands prevent many females from seeking employment in this field. She said,

The hours, the travel, the time doesn’t necessarily compute to a normal life. It is not a job

that is for everyone and it seems to me that the women we’re turning out in these sport

management programs, the students who get their degrees, they look at our jobs and very

few of them say ‘this is what I want to do.’

In summation, social role expectations are such that females are expected to assume domestic responsibilities to a greater extent than males (23). Many jobs within intercollegiate athletics administration make fulfilling domestic responsibilities difficult because an irregular schedule and frequent travel is often required (5). According to the participants, work-family incompatibilities prevent many females from entering into and/or remaining in the field. If they do, it is often in a position where the schedule better allows for the fulfillment of domestic responsibilities.

Gender Ideologies and the “Natural” Fit

Various assumptions with regard to gender and the fulfillment of employment roles exist within various sport organizations (28). It has been argued that certain positions are more appropriate for male employees whereas others are more appropriate for females (3). Within intercollegiate athletics departments, female representation is higher in some operating areas than others (19). For example, an area where female representation is high is academic advising for student-athletes. As a result of traditional gender ideologies and normative social roles, this position could be thought of as a natural fit for female employees. This is because females are assumed to be caring and nurturing and the advisor is often called upon to provide guidance or help nurture a student-athlete (26). Since congruency is perceived to exist betweenthe nature of the job and the nature of females, they might be thought of as better suited than males for this position.

Participants in this study were asked to provide their perspective as to why positions in certain areas are predominately held by females. Rebecca was the compliance coordinator within her department. She identified congruency between feminine attributes and the tasks associated with the position as a reason why females are more likely to be employed in areas such as academic advising. She said, “I think women are more caregivers and nurturers and they are naturally a better fit for some of those areas. You’re caring for student athletes and helping them develop. I think it fits with the nature of women.”

Elaine was the coordinator of academic services within her department. She also identified congruency between feminine attributes and required job tasks as a reason why females are present in such roles to a greater extent than males. She stated, “Academic advising is thought of as taking care of the kids, so to speak. Typically that type of thing lends itself towards getting a woman to do that.”

Rebecca and Elaine were two participants who did not view the possibility of gender ideologies influencing the fulfillment of certain positions within this profession as problematic. On the other hand, Maria expressed concern with this outcome at her institution. Maria was an associate athletics director in charge of facilities and event operations. She was concerned with the thought processes that result in the paucity of females within certain operating units and their abundance in others. She said,

My biggest concern is that there are tracks that they (females) are being hired for. You look

at a lot of schools and it seems that the top academic person is a woman and your top

compliance person is a woman if there are any women at all. I question if women are being

put into tracks that they think are female areas, taking care of kids so to speak. What I fear

is typecasting. You know, “this is a woman’s job.” Doing academic stuff. What I wish

would happen is that women are represented in every position across athletics programs.

Several other participants believed gender ideologies and position fulfillment have served to the detriment of female employees in this profession. Looking forward, however, participants perceived that gender ideologies influencing perceptions of natural fit as well as fulfillment of positions are disintegrating. Within this changing environment, participants felt that females are receiving stronger consideration for positions in operating areas where they have been previously underrepresented. Lori, the compliance coordinator within her department, stated,

I think it (the practice of hiring females for certain tracks) was sort of a reflection of society

where that was the case 20-25 years ago. I think it’s the same mentality that women are

teachers or nurses and that women should do academic support and some of the more care

and nurturing positions within an athletics department. I think that has to do with societal

perceptions about what women’s roles are but I don’t feel like that’s the case now. The

women I work with now are in the business office or the marketing or communications

office so I don’t feel like there’s a place now where they’re saying ‘that’s not an

appropriate place for a woman.’

In summation, gender ideologies were perceived as a factor that shaped female representation in this profession. The impact of gender ideologies upon position fulfillment in this profession resulted in higher levels of female representation in areas where caring and nurturing were perceived as significant job elements. Although gender ideologies were perceived to have affected female representation, participants perceived changing mindsets have resulted in increased female representation in operating areas that have been largely occupied by men.

Male Dominated Social Networks

Sport organizations such as intercollegiate athletics departments have traditionally been male dominated and have served the interests of men. Coakley (7) argued that females do not have strategic connections and networks to compete with male candidates for many upper level administrative positions. Informal networking could provide employees with valuable information and insight to aid in the advancement of their careers (20). Furthermore, membership within an informal network could help an individual access a position or promotion while lack of membership in such networks could prevent this access (24). Historically, white males have possessed those connections and held membership in the “old boys” network. As members of this network, they enjoyed preferential treatment in the hiring process or were givenpositions as a result of relationships they possessed with other members of this network (20).

The influence of informal networks upon female representation emerged from participants’ responses. Specifically, its effect upon the presence of females in upper level managerial positions (e.g., athletics director) was commented upon. Participants acknowledged that hiring practices benefitting members of the old boys network still exist; however, they perceived these practices occur with less frequency than before. As intercollegiate athletics programs have grown, they identified a shift from hiring someone based solely on a personal connection to someone who is qualified to run a department has occurred.

Sarah was an associate athletics director in charge of financial operations in her department. She has worked in this profession for just over 20 years and has seen changes in the way athletics departments fill vacancies. She acknowledged that the old boys network still exists but perceived that fewer vacancies are now filled through this network. She stated,

Rather than seeing where you used to have a good old boy network, picking their buddies

to fill various roles, now you’re seeing applicant pools and search committees utilizing

outside networks and resources for people to look for qualified candidates and that sort of

thing. I think it still exists to some extent and there are certain administrators that would be

very comfortable in hiring people they know. Do I think that’s the way the future of this

business is going? No. Everything I see is that people are taking more of a professional

approach to the business.

Barbara has worked in intercollegiate athletics administration for over 30 years. She also acknowledged the old boys network is still present but stated that hiring on the basis of a personal relationship has declined. The reason behind this was because the growth of athletics programs into multi-million dollar operations dictated the acquisition of personnel who could successfully run the department. She said,

I believe it’s still alive. I don’t know it’s alive and strong. I think it is decaying in some

ways because we don’t matriculate old coaches up any more. I think at one time you could

get a job if you knew the right people and it didn’t matter if you were qualified for the job.

I don’t believe that’s true anymore. Athletics today is not just looked at as being sport; it is

looked at as being a business. So now you’re bringing people along, whether they are male

or female, to execute the business at hand.

In summation, the presence of informal networks limited past opportunities for females in this profession. This was especially prevalent in the fulfillment of upper level positions such as athletics director. Participants perceived these networks have weakened and additional upper level administrative opportunities for females resulted. Although female representation is lower in the role of athletics director as opposed to various operating areas, participants were optimistic this position could see a greater level of female representation as objective measures are increasingly utilized in order to fill vacancies.

CONCLUSIONS

A number of factors were identified with regard to position fulfillment among females within intercollegiate athletics administration. First, incompatibility between occupational and domestic obligations was identified as a reason that has limited female representation within various operating areas. This was most evident in areas that require working irregular schedules and frequent travel.

Second, gender ideologies were identified as a reason why females are employed within various operating areas more so than others. Females have been assumed to be a better fit for positions where exercising feminine attributes are important (28). Participants perceived that females are more highly represented in areas such as academic advising and student services because the attributes needed to effectively fulfill the position in these areas are congruent with characteristics such as nurturing and empathy, which are commonly perceived as feminine.

Third, the presence of informal networks was perceived to affect female representation, especially in the athletics director position. Intercollegiate athletics programs have traditionally benefitted male applicants because of the presence of the old boys network. Although these networks have impacted position fulfillment in the past, participants perceived these networks are weakening as the process of filling vacancies has become more objective.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT

Circumstances that affect opportunities for females in this profession should be critically examined on an ongoing basis. Fink (13) stated, “We must continue to examine the issues of gender and sex diversity in sport organizations in order to make these organizations accessible, comfortable, and beneficial to all” (p. 147). Shaw (26) also advocated for ongoing critical inquiry of these issues because of the impact they could have upon organizational effectiveness. Furthermore, Coakley (7) stated that sport organizations “must critically assess the impact of male dominated/identified/centered forms of social organization” (p. 254). Continued critical inquiry on this topic is needed because of the effect it could have upon an organization as well as the experience of the individual employee.

A potential limitation associated with this study is that single interviews were conducted with each participant. It is possible that participants’ perspectives will change over time. For example, participants who did not see certain trends as problematic at this time might feel differently if they were passed over for a promotion for which they felt qualified. A suggestion for future research is to conduct longitudinal studies. These could reveal changing perspectives over the course of a career.

Lastly, further examination of perspectives and experiences of current employees could be beneficial to those who are interested in pursuing a career in this profession. By learning from those who are already employed, individuals who possess an interest in entering this profession could be better prepared for the challenges and circumstances they might encounter. Ideological thinking will continue to exist and requirements inherent to particular jobs in this profession will remain. By conducting ongoing critical inquiry within these environments, however, it is hoped these efforts will be useful in uncovering thought processes and subsequent hiring practices that have affected female representation in this profession.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

None

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