Self-Esteem, Sense of Community, and Participation in Organized Sports: A Study of Rural High School Students on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Carole L. Seyfrit

Committee Member

Xiushi Yang

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 L44


Using 1995 Survey data collected from high school students on Virginia's Eastern Shore, this study investigates how rural adolescents view themselves and their communities, and specifically how sports participation may affect self-esteem and sense of community. Adolescents, faced with a transition period between high school and adulthood, must begin to make choices such as attending college or technical school, entering the workforce, and/or moving away from their home communities. These choices are particularly important to the Eastern Shore because its economic vitality is in decline and its social vitality is hard hit by out-migration. Analyses of data from Northampton County indicate rural adolescents' self-esteem is significantly higher among blacks, females, those planning to attend college, and those expecting to leave the Eastern Shore. Rural adolescents' sense of community is significantly stronger among whites, those expecting to spend their adult lives on the Eastern Shore, and those who participate in organized sports.


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