Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amelia M. Lee


The most recent Surgeon General's report underscores the need for increased levels of regular physical activity in the general population, and in women and minorities in particular. Variations in participation patterns in particular sports and physical activities may provide insight into the reasons for differing activity levels in women and minorities. The present investigation studied the influence of race and gender on activity choices by regarding specific sport and physical activities as self-defining for race and gender groups. Study 1 was designed to confirm the existence of self-schemata for sport and physical activities. A computer generated instrument was employed to assess the existence and strength of self-schemata. Results of logistic regression analysis indicate that self-schemata for sport and physical activities indeed exist and certain schemata differ by race and/or gender. Study 2 investigated the sources of self-schemata and whether these sources vary by race and gender. Questionnaire data and subsequent factor analysis revealed four stable factors; TV/modeling, expectations, parental influence, and effort. Multivariate analyses of these factors revealed gender and racial differences. Using self-schema theory as a conceptual framework, findings indicated that the sources of differences in students self-schemata for sport and physical activities differ by race and gender. Understanding the dynamics of self-schemata development and the influences of race and gender holds potential for improving general health, teacher education programs, and pedagogical practice.