Estimating the Causal Effects of Organized Activities: Testing the Efficiency of Propensity

Principal Investigator: Ryan Heath, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Social Work
(Co-I): Bhavneet Walia, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Public Health

This study tests the utility of propensity score matching to study the effect of organized activity participation in adolescence on long-term outcomes.

The potential of organized activities has taken on new importance in recent years as content that can help support the healthy development of youth. Organized activities – including after-school programs, extracurricular activities, and summer programs – receive substantial federal, state and private investments, and rigorous methods are needed to assess their impact on young people’s educational and labor market outcomes. Research on organized activities for youth has been limited by mixed findings, self-selection, and the inability to draw causal inferences. However, as it is difficult to conduct randomized studies on these programs, there is a need to utilize other methods of modeling causality.

Thus, this study aims to test the feasibility and efficiency of propensity score matching in research on organized activities. While a few studies on organized activities have incorporated propensity score matching, fewer have assessed whether or not this method produces more efficient and less biased estimates of the effects of organized activity participation. To do so, this study will utilize data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 to estimate the effect of organized activity participation in high school with educational and labor market outcomes in young adulthood, and whether propensity score matching produces more efficient and less biased estimates as compared to traditional regression methods.

Olympic Sponsorship in Small States; Strategies and Partnerships for Caribbean National Olympic Committees

Principal Investigator: Jeeyoon Jamie Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sport Management

The Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (“CANOC”) consists of 28 National Olympic Committees (“NOC”) in the Caribbean region. A key agenda of CANOC’s member NOCs is developing an Olympic sponsorship program to provide the needed support for their national team and sport events and to diversify the revenue stream heavily reliant on the International Olympic Committee and government subsidies. Being placed in a unique sport market of small states (cf. characterized by a small population, confined economy, small private sectors), Caribbean NOCs have struggled to bring sponsorship revenue and existing knowledge on sponsorship had limited applicability (cf. as mainly derived from advanced sport markets).

Therefore, upon request from and with a partnership with CANOC, this project aims to understand the current state (e.g., objectives, properties and its appeal/popularity, current sponsors and leveraging strategies) and desired state (e.g., the ultimate goal, opportunities, challenges) of Caribbean NOC’s sponsorship. Further, the partnerships among NOCs and current/potential sponsors will be investigated to derive strategies to effectively build sponsorship relations. Data will be collected based on surveys with the 28 NOCs and interviews with selected NOCs and sponsors. Data analyses will be conducted based on a part-to-whole process (using NVIVO); Leximancer (i.e., a text analytics visualization software) and MACTOR (i.e., Multi-Actor Analysis; for partnership assessment).

Health Behaviors among Pregnant Women with Prior Pregnancy Loss

Principal Investigator: Jessica Redmond, Ph.D., R.D., Assistant Professor, Nutrition Science & Dietetics

During pregnancy, the presence of maternal stress significantly increases the risk for adverse birth outcomes, including preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction, both of which can result in low birth weight. Exposure to stress during pregnancy may affect food choices, exercise habits, use of tobacco or other drugs, and sleep patterns. Levels of psychosocial stress specifically may be particularly elevated for pregnant women who have previously experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, which occurs in 1 in 4 pregnancies.

Our study will focus on pregnant women who have previously experienced a pregnancy loss. We plan to investigate the relationship between psychosocial stress, dietary intake, and physical activity level during each trimester of pregnancy, and determine how each of these factors potentially contribute to the risk of adverse birth outcomes. Participants in the study will report their dietary intake, have their physical activity monitored, and complete several questionnaires once during each trimester of pregnancy.

The results of this project will better inform nutrition and medical professionals about the impact of stress and health behaviors on pregnancy-related outcomes, allowing them to better support pregnant women who have previously experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Our research team also plans to use the data from this study to justify the creation of an intervention aimed at reducing maternal stress and improving both maternal and fetal health outcomes.

Assessing the Social-Emotional Pathways between Organized Sports and Young Adult Outcomes

2018-2019 Sport and Human Development Institute Seed Grant Award

Principal Investigator: Ryan Heath, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Social Work

This study investigates the social-emotional mechanisms through which organized sports participation is associated with long-term educational and health outcomes.

Large numbers of young people engage in sports through organized activities outside of school hours. Organized sports – which include athletic activities that are supervised and/or facilitated by adults in the contexts of sports teams, athletic lessons, or community athletics centers – offer young people important opportunities to develop social-emotional skills and prosocial beliefs that foster healthy development. Indeed, research suggests that organized sports participation in adolescence is associated with stronger social-emotional adjustment and well-being. In the long-term, organized sports are associated with higher educational attainment in young adulthood, but also have mixed associations with substance use and health behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood. Given such long-term outcomes, there is a need to better understand what mechanisms may explain these associations. Social-emotional factors may constitute an important set of mechanisms. However, few studies test whether the association of organized sports participation with long-term educational and health outcomes can be explained by social-emotional factors.

To do so, this study will utilize data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Young Adulthood to test the association of organized sports participation in adolescence with educational attainment and health behaviors in young adulthood, and whether these relationships are mediated by five social-emotional factors:

  1. self-esteem,
  2. mental health,
  3. educational expectations,
  4. school belonging, and
  5. interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

Managerial Diversity and Misconduct by Male Professional Athletes

SHDI Seed Grant

Principal Investigator: Mary Graham, Ph.D., Professor, Sport Management
(Co-I): Bhavneet Walia, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Public Health

Organizations and managers have a strong interest in preventing and redressing employee misconduct, which is voluntary behavior that deviates from prevailing norms. When employees are admired public figures, as is often the case with professional athletes, the negative consequences of misconduct to organizations may be more likely and more severe than in other contexts. This research project represents the first examination of the organizational determinants of misconduct by high-profile employees of professional sports teams.

Our focus is on the relationship between the demographic composition of the National Football League (NFL) managers and player misconduct. This particular research project builds on an earlier quantitative study that found empirical support for the theory-based hypothesis that NFL teams employing a critical mass of women executives experience fewer subsequent player arrests. In this follow-up, qualitative field study, we will interview NFL executives to gain their insights on the gender and race/ethnic dynamics within managerial and executive groups to understand the processes underpinning the association between demographic composition and employee misconduct. Together, the quantitative and qualitative results will present a comprehensive study of the association between managerial and executive composition and several indicators of player misconduct.

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