A Case Study of Gender Identity and Exercise Behavior

Article excerpt

Jennifer Y. Mak and Carina King, Indiana University

Gender difference in sport participation is one of the most popular topics in sport. Studies by Ashford, Biddle, and Goudas (1993); Gill, et al. (1996); and Fishwick, and Hayes (1989) suggested that attitudes toward physical activity appeared to vary by gender. However, there is a lack of studies to facilitate in depth investigation about the influences of gender identity towards exercise behavior. The research question is: To what extent does gender identity influence the exercise behavior of 2 male and 2 female students exercising in the strength and conditioning room (SCR) at the Indiana University Student Recreational Sports Center (SRSC) in Fall 1998? The four primary participants were undergraduate students and the secondary participant was a SRSC fitness consultant. Field notes were gathered on the (a) physical setting of the SCR; (b) activities during the SCR orientation session; and (c) activities and behaviors of the primary participants in the SCR. Data were also gathered through (a) interviews wit h the primary and secondary participants; (b) examination of SRSC user surveys and publicity materials; and (c) staff handouts on strength and conditioning new user orientation. Analyses were conducted during data collection and working hypotheses were generated and revised through the data collection period. Recurring themes were identified from transcripts for content analysis. …