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Article Title

SPORT, FAMILY, AND RELATIONSHIP CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPETITIVE ADULT NORDIC SKIERS

Abstract

Participation in lifetime sports and recreational activities are known to provide important fitness benefits such as improved muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, and a reduced risk of functional limitations. Missing from the literature, however, is an examination of the interface between sport and family in competitive adult cross country (XC) skiers. This study sought to provide insight into the quality of competitive adult XC skier partner and couple relationships. PURPOSE: This study evaluated the ability of sport involvement, family characteristics, and demographic variables to predict relationship outcomes within adult XC skiers competing in the 2013 Boulder Mountain Tour ski race. METHODS: One hundred and sixty-nine XC skiers (100 men, 69 women; 30-80+ years), all of whom competed in the same 32 km XC ski race in February of 2013, completed a collection of online surveys. The independent variables of interest included common demographics (gender, 10-year age groups (AG), body mass index), hours of training (HT), a sport-to-family compatibility scale (S2F), and a relationship satisfaction scale (RSS). These variables were used as potential predictors of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) which is a validated measure of relationship agreement / disagreement. Standard step forward multiple regression procedures were used to determine the best subset of predictor variables (P to enter/exit = 0.05; alpha = 0.05). RESULTS: Four of the independent variables explained 52.4% of the total variance in DAS as follows: DAS = 2.71 + 0.468xRSS – 0.178xS2F + 0.231xHT - 0.089xAG (R²=0.524; P<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Relationship compatibility, as determined by the DAS, was predicted by a combination of survey measures: Self-reported degree of happiness with one’s relationship (RSS; 43.2% variance explained), the influence of sports participation on family life (S2F; 4.3%), hours of self-reported training (HT; 1.6%), and age group (AG; 1.6%). These results indicate that partner compatibility for adult XC skiers is highly dependent upon the degree of happiness and satisfaction with one’s current relationship, as well as the expected future of that relationship. The generalizability of these findings should be evaluated within other sports and competitive adult populations.

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