Relative age effects and the second-quartile phenomenon in young female ice hockey players

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Date

2017-09

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Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Abstract

Relative age effects exist across sports and cultures (Cobley, Baker, Wattie, & McKenna, 2009), though a recent, unusual trend is females born in the second quartile of the selection year are most over-represented on elite teams. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the second-quartile phenomenon was the result of first-quartile female athletes registering to play male sport. Players included 29,924 female ice hockey players (ages 7-17 years). Relative age effects (the second quartile most over-represented) existed for the entire sample (χ2 [3, 29923] = 401.95, p < .001), those registered for female ice hockey (χ2 [3, 24984] = 369.90, p < .001) and those registered for male ice hockey (χ2 [3, 4938] = 37.88, p < .001). It appears the second-quartile phenomenon cannot be explained by athletes’ choice to play male sport. The discussion includes integration of results with previous literature, along with plausible explanations.

Description

This is an Original Manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Psychology of Sport and Exercise on September 2017, available online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.05.002.

Keywords

birthdate, participation, birth rate distribution, female sport

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