The Incidence of Female Apologetic Behaviors in Modern Roller Derby Athletes



Cookson, Emily

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This thesis explores the presence of apologetic behavior, and its motivations, within the population of adult, women’s roller derby athletes in the United States. Study of apologetic behavior can facilitate the creation of strategies to counter the stigmas and stereotypes responsible for it. This thesis examined the relationships between apologetic behaviors and demographic characteristics, as well as the stereotypes recognized by roller derby athletes. A modified, online version of the mixed methods Apologetic Behavior Questionnaire, originally created by Davis-Delano, Pollack, and Vose in 2009, was distributed to roller derby leagues in the U.S.A. Responses revealed that the same stereotypes and themes present in the sample of the original study were still expressed by the responding roller derby skaters. Contrary to the hypothesis of the author, the roller derby athletes engaged in more apologetic behavior than the pilot study. Similarities and differences between samples were evaluated and several significant relationships were analyzed. This study added to the data available about apologetic behavior within the field of women’s sports. Hopefully, this thesis can serve as a catalyst for self-evaluation and behavior changes by roller derby athletes while also encouraging further research into the sport of roller derby, gender theories, and apologetic behavior.



Apologetic behavior, Female athletes, Femininity, Questionnaire, Roller Derby, Stereotypes