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Sex Differences in Sports Across 50 Societies

63 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2012  

Robert O. Deaner

Grand Valley State University - Department of Psychology

Brandt A. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 22, 2012

Abstract

Sports have been frequently explored in cross-cultural studies, yet scant attention has been paid to female participation. Here we coded the occurrence of sports and related activities for males and females in the societies comprising the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) probability sample. We then tested several predictions derived from evolutionary theory. As predicted, in all 50 societies with documented sports, there were more male sports than female sports; hunting and combat sports were almost exclusively male activities; and the sex difference in sports was greater in patriarchal than in non-patriarchal societies. These results show that a robust sex difference in direct physical competition co-occurs with meaningful variation in its expression.

Keywords: evolutionary psychology, anthropology, athletics, competitiveness, gender, sex differences, competition, sports

Suggested Citation

Deaner, Robert O. and Smith, Brandt A., Sex Differences in Sports Across 50 Societies (February 22, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2009329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2009329

Robert O. Deaner (Contact Author)

Grand Valley State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401-9403
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.gvsu.edu/psychology/robert-deaner-16.htm

Brandt A. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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