Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amelia M. Lee


The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of beliefs about gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability on perceived and actual competence and patterns of behavior during practice of a sex typed masculine task, the hockey wrist shot. Sixty-eight undergraduate females formed four homogeneous treatment conditions based on their beliefs about gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability: Masculine Innate (MI), Masculine Acquired (MA), Neutral Innate (NI), and Neutral Acquired (NA). Four teachers taught across all of the treatment conditions for a total of 16 learning groups. Each of the learning episodes reinforced the gender appropriateness and conception of ability beliefs held by that group and began with an audio-video tape which introduced the critical skill cues and successful practice trials of the hockey wrist shot. The teacher provided eight minutes of skill practice and feedback, while reinforcing the group's gender and ability beliefs. The teacher then left the room so that the learning groups would have an equal amount of time to practice independently. The subjects were given a skill test at the end of the learning episode. Data were collected through a three part questionnaire and from audio-video taping of the entire episode to ascertain the participant's competency beliefs, effort, and performance. Multivariate analysis revealed a main effect for gender appropriateness for both competency beliefs and Performance but no effect on effort. No main effect for conception of ability nor an interactional effect were found. Gender appropriateness impacted the subjects, perceptions of competence and actual performance in the study while beliefs about conceptions of ability did not produce a significant difference. This study reaffirms that educators must work diligently to combat the stereotypical beliefs that many hold with respect to the gender appropriateness of physical activities in order to maximize the potential for positive outcomes in developing a wide array of motor skills.