Adolescent women's sports involvement and sexual behavior/health: A process-level investigation
AuthorLehman, Stephanie Jacobs
AdvisorKoerner, Susan Silverberg
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis multi-method study explored the link between sports involvement during the high school years and sexual behavior/health among 176 adolescent women. The current study employed quantitative methodology to replicate the documented connections between sports involvement and adolescent women's sexual behavior and sexual/reproductive health, but used more sensitive and appropriate measures. Additionally, in part directed by cultural resource theory, the present study helped to fill a gap in the literature by exploring three potential explanatory mechanisms (i.e., mediators) in the above connections. Those mechanisms included: (a) functional body orientation; (b) self-empowerment/efficacy; and (c) sexual/reproductive health-related information/motivation via coach. Results from the quantitative data suggested that adolescent women's involvement in organized team sports was favorably associated with each of the following: (a) sexual risk-taking behavior, (b) sexual/reproductive health-seeking behavior, and (c) sexual/reproductive health. In addition, both adolescent women's functional body orientation and adolescent women's self-empowerment/efficacy emerged as mediators in the associations between adolescent women's sports involvement and adolescent women's sexual behavior/health. Thus, the current study suggests the potential for sports involvement to favorably influence adolescent women's sexual behavior/health and pinpoints key mechanisms that help to clarify the nature of that influence. The current study used qualitative methodology to explore the ways in which the adolescent women felt that their sports involvement influenced their lives and feelings about their bodies. In general, the sports involvement-derived outcomes that emerged from the adolescent women's written comments were positive, suggesting that the adolescent women felt that their sports involvement during their high school years was overwhelmingly beneficial. Potential implications of those outcomes for the sexual/reproductive health of adolescent women are discussed. Qualitative methodology also was used in the current study to explore adolescent women's experience of sexual/reproductive health-related coach talk. Based on the adolescent women's reports of their experiences of such coach talk, it appears that coaches might be one logical and effective avenue by which key sexual/reproductive health messages can be transmitted to adolescent female athletes. Implications for the development of sports and community programs focused on the prevention of teenage pregnancy and STDs are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family Studies and Human Development