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Title:The Walk of Life: An Examination of Mall-Walking and the Older Woman
Author(s):Standefer, Christine Lee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Slowikowski, Synthia S.
Department / Program:Kinesiology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Education, Physical
Health Sciences, Recreation
Abstract:Gerontological exercise research has focused primarily on older men even though women have longer life spans. The exercise literature implies a relationship between exercise participation and health, yet only 10-20% of the population over the age of 65 regularly engage in deliberate physical activity. The present research examines mall-walking as a new sport form that has been adopted and perpetuated by the older adult. Using participant observation, informal and formal interview methods the author produced an ethnography describing and interpreting mall-walking within its cultural context. Five themes emerged from the research: (1) The shopping malls are "cathedrals of consumerism" whose primary goal is that of economic solvency. Older women have however transformed the mall into a sporting arena that empowers and gives visibility to the older woman; (2) Older women have stylized mall-walking through the use of rituals, unique walking styles and clothing; (3) Primary and secondary socialization into physical activity appears to be one of the influential factors for mall-walking participation; (4) The use of social support networks which include partners, children, doctors, nurses and other agencies in an important determinant of continued mall-walking participation and (5) A positive correlation between exercise participation and health exists in the literature. The women in this study were knowledgeable about general as well as personal health practices. All of the women cited health as the primary reason for mall-walking participation.
Issue Date:1992
Description:155 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305704
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1992

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