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Social influences on female athletic performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2008

K. F Dyer
Department of Genetics, University of Adelaide, South Australia


The differences between male and female performance in athletic track events at which both compete are compared. It is found that the difference between male and female performance as measured by world records is declining in all events and declining most rapidly in those events in which the differences at the present time are largest. Analysis of national track records for these same events shows considerable differences between different countries in average male/female differentials and the differences between males and females for some events in some countries is much smaller than world record differences.

It is concluded that social factors such as differing degrees of encouragement and differing levels of expectation are important factors in limiting female athletic performance.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1976

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