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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

Lara Killick

First Committee Member

Pete Schroeder

Second Committee Member

James Wyant


Although female sports’ participation and popularity has grown significantly since Title IX was enacted in 1972, the fight for gender equality in sport is far from over. Gender stereotypes continue to constrain male and female access and experiences in sport (Endendijk et al., 2013; Daltry, 2012). Given that competitiveness lies at the very heart of the definition of sport, athletes are often asked to act competitively to achieve success. However, behaviors marked as competitive can often contradict the societal norms of femininity resulting in sporting females frequently receiving conflicting messages on how to act. Research indicates that gender stereotypes are well established by the age of 8, however young adolescence is a complex time of change and growth in the performance of gender especially within a sport context (Perry & Pauletti, 2011; Steinfeldt, Zakrajsek, Carter, & Steinfeldt, 2011). Consequently, this study explores whether gender stereotypes exist in perceptions of sporting competitiveness. A purposive convenience sample of 10 young athletes (ages 11–15) from a range of ability levels was selected. Data was generated through using grounded theory and a four-stage coding process. The participants’ narratives revealed several gender stereotypes informed young athletes’ perceptions of sporting competitiveness.





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