Title

Assessing the Impact of Educating Coaches about Healthy Masculinity

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

Research demonstrates that male athletes are more likely than nonathletes to commit violence and aggressive acts toward women (Boeringer, 1999; Forbes, Adams-Curtis, Pakalka, and White, 1997; Crosset, Ptacek, & McDonald, 1995; and Crosset, Ptacek, McDonald, & Benedict, 1996). Thus, these young athletes are considered an at-risk population. Due to the influential role that athletic coaches play in their athletes’ lives, it is important to explore how that relationship can be used to promote healthy masculinity and relationships with women for young men and boys (Boxill, Glanville, Murray, & Hanna, 2012; Boxill, Glanville, & Murray, 2011). This proposal is directly connected to the theme "Safety and Violence Prevention" as these strategies can be used to ultimately decrease acts of violence in athletes. Furthermore, this proposal is indirectly connected to "Mental and Physical Health" as we suggest that through improving the way coaches approach their athletes in terms of mental and physical readiness we can decrease acts of violence. Since limited research in this area has had conflicting results in terms of whether athletic coaches can be allies in preventing violence against women, this proposal aims to add to the literature as well as offer insight into the best ways to reach and motivate coaches to prevent sexual and domestic violence (Lyndon, Duffy, Smith & White, 2011; Miller et al., 2012).

Brief Program Description

Male athletes are considerably more at risk to commit acts of physical and sexual violence than their non-athlete counterparts. It is suggested that this relationship can be mediated by prominent role models. Educating coaches and athletic officials about sexism, aggression, and masculinity can help inform the way they approach athletes about these issues and in turn, decrease acts of violence.

Summary

Scholars theorize hegemonic forms of masculinity that depict men as strong, aggressive, and dominant may be perpetuated by sports culture, and that coaches can be an effective site of intervention for changing this culture. Therefore, it is important to determine how the influential relationship between athletes and athletic coaches can be used to promote healthy masculinity and gender relations within communities. Through the creation of a web-based Toolkit this program aimed to shape coaches attitudes and beliefs by facilitating discussions about issues of sexism, domestic violence, and sexual assault in pop-culture. Through bringing prominent examples of these issues into the discourse, this program aimed to provide transparency to the more deeply rooted issues of sexism and hegemonic masculinity.

Evidence

The purpose of this proposal is to explore the ability of athletic coaches to understand masculinity and its link to violence against women in order to assess whether they can be part of the solution to decreasing and preventing sexual and domestic violence. Research demonstrates that male athletes are more likely than non-athletes to commit violent and aggressive acts toward women (Boeringer, 1999; Forbes, Adams-Curtis, Pakalka, and White, 2006). Due to the influential role that athletic coaches play in their athletes’ lives, it is important to explore how that relationship can be used to promote healthy masculinity and relationships with women for young men and boys (Gould, Chung, Smith, and White, 2006; Miller, Salmela, & Kerr, 2002; Steinfeldt, J. A., Foltz, B. D., Mungro, J., Speight, Q. L., Wong, Y. J., & Blumberg, J., 2011). Since the limited research in this area has had conflicting results in terms of whether athletic coaches can be allies in preventing violence against women, this research aims to add to the literature as well as offer insight into the best ways to reach, motivate, and educate coaches to prevent sexual aggression and behaviors associated with hegemonic masculinity (Lyndon, Duffy, Smith & White, 2011; Miller, Tancredi, McCauley, Decker, Virata, Anderson, Silverman, 2012).

Athletic coaches’ close relationships with their athletes have been shown to influence and guide the behavior of the athletes who they coach (Gould et al., 2006; Miller at al,, 2002; Steinfeldt et al., 2011). Additionally, coaches themselves have identified that they are not simply mentors on the field, but also off the field in the realm of youth development (Gould et al., 2006). Due to athletic coaches’ influence on their athletes’ actions and lives, several studies have been conducted in order to assess whether working with coaches in violence against women prevention efforts would be effective (Lyndon et al., 2011; Miller et al., 2012). This research is extremely important since male athletes have increasingly been identified as a critical population in need of these prevention efforts (Boeringer, 1999; Foubert & Perry, 2007; Jackson, 2000; Locke & Mahlik, 2005). On one hand, Lyndon et al. (2011) determined that most coaches were not yet suitable to speak to young men about violence against women due to their own rape myth beliefs and sexist attitudes. On the other hand, a program evaluation of Coaching Boys into Men, a dating violence prevention program led by athletic coaches and targeted towards male athletes, concluded that coaches who correctly adhered to the program were able to conduct conversations and workshops that positively impacted their athletes (Miller et al., 2012). However, the inconsistency between these results exemplifies the need for further research to be conducted within this area.

McMahon and Farmer (2009) state that there is a need for community-level prevention programs for at-risk populations. This web-based Toolkit works to address that need as it is publicly accessible to the local community. Furthermore, the Diffusion of Innovations theory supports the idea that coaches could be effective in disseminating new information about masculinity to their athletes (Kanekar, 2008). This theory addresses ideas or practices that are considered novel to an individual or unit, such as an athletic team. This process, as defined by Rogers, E.M. in “Diffusion of Innovations” (2003) (as cited in Kanekar, 2008), consists of five steps: “(1) gaining knowledge about the innovation; (2) becoming persuaded about the innovation; (3) decision step of adopting or rejecting the innovation; (4) implementation step of putting the innovation to use; (5) confirmation step of either reversing the decision or adopting the new innovation” (pg. 3). As coaches have been identified as having strong influence over their athletes, this process suggests that the first step in disseminating knowledge about healthy masculinity and sexual aggression to athletes lies in educating coaches about these concepts(Gould et al., 2006; Miller et al., 2002.)

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dessie Clark graduated cum laude from Centenary College of Louisiana in 2013 with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Ms. Clark is a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society. She previously presented at the 21st Annual Student Research Forum at Centenary College of Louisiana and the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference in 2012. Ms. Clark is currently a second year Masters candidate at Vanderbilt University in the Community Development and Action program. The focus of her Masters work is on sexual assault prevention and other forms of gender-based violence.

Natalie Jeansonne is a native of New Orleans and graduated cum laude from Louisiana State University. She earned a BA in History and Political Science, with a concentration in Secondary Education in 2013. Following graduation, she worked at the Office of Greek Life at LSU and then moved into the classroom, teaching AP History at an all-girls high school in Baton Rouge. Natalie is currently earning her Masters of Education in Leadership and Organizational Performance at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College in Nashville. Her primary focus area is leadership and how leaders impact character development. Natalie is passionate about improving education for at-risk youth and community development through non-profit initiatives.

Keyword Descriptors

masculinity, sports, coaches, mentors, attitudes, athletes, domestic violence, sexual assault

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Assessing the Impact of Educating Coaches about Healthy Masculinity

Harborside Center

Male athletes are considerably more at risk to commit acts of physical and sexual violence than their non-athlete counterparts. It is suggested that this relationship can be mediated by prominent role models. Educating coaches and athletic officials about sexism, aggression, and masculinity can help inform the way they approach athletes about these issues and in turn, decrease acts of violence.