Stereotype endorsement and perceived ability as mediators of the girls’ gender orientation–soccer performance relationship

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Objective:This study investigated girls’ endorsement of the stereotype that girls are not good soccer performers through three questions: (1) did stereotype endorsement predict soccer performance? (2) Was this relationship mediated by perceived ability? (3) Was stereotype endorsement related to gender role orientation?Method:One hundred and two junior high school girls from the 6th to the 9th grade (M age = 13.5 years, SD = 1.23) reported their beliefs about girls’ and boys’ performance in soccer, perceived ability and gender role orientation. Next, their soccer performance was observed during matches in compulsory physical education classes. A path-analytic model tested the relationships among the variables using a product-moment correlation matrix and a maximum likelihood estimation procedure.Results:Stereotype endorsement (i.e., the belief that girls’ performance in soccer is poor) negatively predicted performance, this relationship being mediated by perceived ability. Moreover, masculinity positively predicted perceived ability, and this relationship was partially mediated by stereotype endorsement.Conclusion:This study reinforces the idea that girls’ sports performance may be related to gender stereotypes. Interpretations of the results in light of Eccles et al.’s expectancy-value model and stereotype threat theory are discussed, along with implications for practice.

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