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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Gender bias in beliefs on physical activity: Buffering effects of sport participation among girls

item Anderson, Cheryl

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2008
Publication Date: 5/21/2008
Citation: Anderson, C. 2008. Gender bias in beliefs on physical activity: Buffering effects of sport participation among girls [abstract]. 7th Annual Conference of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, May 21-24, 2008, Banff, Alberta, Canada. p. 160.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine effects of child gender on parental and child beliefs and evaluate competitive sport participation as a modifier of child beliefs. Two age-groups of children and parents completed measures on child athletic appearance, competence, importance of physical activity (PA), and encouragement by parents (25-item Parental Beliefs Questionnaire, 40-item Athletic Identity Questionnaire). Cross-sectional responses from 674 parents (63.0% female , 55.8% white, 26.2% Hispanic)and 433 children in 4th - 5th grade (53.5% female, mean age = 9.9 yrs), and 404 parents (62.3% female, 79.2% White, 24.0% Hispanic) and 280 children in 7th - 8th grade (58.7% female, mean age = 13.0 years) were analyzed. Our results showed that in parents, MANOVA (parent gender x child gender) produced effects for child gender in parents of younger, but not older children. Parents rated younge boys higher on competence (p<.01) importance (p>.001),and encouragement (p<0.5). In children, MANOVA (child gender x team participation) produced main effects for team participation in younger and a child gender x team interaction in older, children. In younger children, team membership buffered parental gender biases [simple team main effects for appearance (p<.001), competence (p<.001)importance (p<.01), perceived encouragement (p<.01)]. In older children, although parent child-gender biases were ot present, team membership enhanced child self-beliefs (all simple team main effects significant), especially among girls, who perceived greater parental encouragement than boys (p<.01). Participating in competitive sports may help girls overcome parental gender biases that are still seem prevalent. Parent gender biases may lessen with girls' continued sports participation into later childhood and adolescence.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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