Race, sex, and perceptions of student-athletes’ career options

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2023-08
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Barker, Nathan
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Armstrong, Patrick I
Perez, Rosemary
Wei, Meifen
Vogel, David
Marsee, Monica
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Psychology
Abstract
In this study, peoples’ perceptions of student-athletes were examined to better understand how the intersection of sex and race of student-athletes impacts what jobs people think are appropriate for them. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two card-sorting conditions, forced-choice or free-choice. In the forced-choice condition, participants were asked to sort 72 job titles evenly into the four categories of: Black Female Student-Athlete, Black Male Student-Athlete, White Female Student-Athlete. As such, the participants had to rely on limited information to sort 18 jobs titles into each of the four student-athlete categories. In the free-choice condition, participants were also asked to sort job titles into the four student-athlete categories, but without constraints such as having an equal number in each. Participants were then randomly assigned to write a brief description about one of the four student-athlete groups. Chi-Square and repeated measures ANOVA analyses revealed that participants did make meaningful distinctions between the groups when assigning job titles, with differences found in: Sex Traditionality, Prestige Scores, and Holland Type Scores of job titles assigned to each group. It was also determined that the condition, forced-choice or free-choice, did lead to significant differences in participants’ job title assignment to the four categories. Written responses revealed that participants utilized certain adjectives in describing all the student-athlete groups such as: Strong, hardworking, and athletic. There were certain adjectives that were uniquely assigned to certain groups however such as: Perseverant and independent for Black Female Student-Athletes. The information from this study may be useful in examining the role race and sex plays in peoples’ differing perceptions of student-athletes.
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