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Touching Behavior in Sport: Functional Components, Analysis of Sex Differences, and Ethological Considerations



Little research exists regarding sex differences in touching behavior in sport or recreational settings. This study investigates sex differences in amounts, types, and factors influencing same-sex touching in a sport context. Subjects were 119 members of four men's college varsity baseball teams and 52 members of three women's college varsity softball teams. All touches performed on-field between team members were recorded and classified using an ethogram designed for this study. As hypothesized, statistically significant differences were found in the following areas: females performed more touching behaviors than males, almost half of the behavior types observed were performed more frequently by one sex than the other, males performed touching behaviors more frequently at away than home games, females performed touching behaviors more frequently at home than away games, and females performed more touching behaviors than males after negative game events. The findings and implications are discussed in relation to the touching behavior literature, ethology, and comparative psychology.



Journal of Nonverbal BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 2001

DOI: 10.1023/A:1006785107778

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