The female athletic role as a status determinant within the social systems of high school adolescents.

M. J. Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between female athletic participation and status attainment within the social status systems of high school adolescents. Although earlier research has consistently demonstrated that the athletic role for males is associated with greatest status within the school, findings regarding the status of female athletes have been contradictory: Some studies have found high status rankings for female athletes while others have revealed negative results. It was therefore argued that current research go beyond the general construct of "female athlete" and consider the type of sport with which the adolescent female is associated as a possible status determinant. Employing a sport typology proposed by Metheny (1967), it was predicted that females associated with sex-appropriate or "feminine" sports (e.g., tennis) would receive significantly higher status ratings than those identified with sex-inappropriate or "masculine" sports (e.g., basketball). One hundred and twenty-one male subjects were asked to indicate which female athlete (associated with a sex-appropriate versus a sex-inappropriate sport) they would most like to date, while 111 female subjects were asked to choose which female athlete they would most like to have as a friend. Chi-square analyses revealed that, as predicted, females associated with sex-appropriate sports were given significantly greater status than females identified with sex-inappropriate sports by both male and female subjects. These results suggest that social assessments made about female sport participation within high school status systems remain heavily influenced by traditional beliefs regarding feminine, "ladylike" behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
Issue number90
StatePublished - Jun 1988


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