“We’re a Family and that Gives Me Joy”: Exploring Interpersonal Relationships in Older Women’s Softball Using Socio-Emotional Selectivity Theory

Wonjun Choi, Toni Liechty, Jill J. Naar, Stephanie West, Jen D. Wong, Julie Son

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research suggests that leisure provides a vehicle for women to develop friendships in later life, yet little research has explored older women’s experiences of social connection in a team sport setting. This study explored the experiences of social support and friendship among older women who played softball. Focus groups were conducted with women on six softball teams associated with the North Carolina Senior Games. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Three inter-related themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) friendship and social connections played a large role in players’ motivations to join the team and continue playing; (2) their approach to playing softball facilitated social connections with others both on and off the team; and (3) through playing softball, participants developed a social network that was invaluable in coping with life stress. The findings are discussed as they relate to socio-emotional selectivity theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLeisure Sciences
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • friendship
  • older adults
  • social support
  • team sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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