Published Articles


Collective emotion during collective trauma: A metaphor analysis of the COVID-19 global pandemic

By B. Liahnna Stanley*, Dr. Alaina C. Zanin, Brianna L. Avalos*, Dr. Sarah J. Tracy, & Dr. Sophia Town

This study provides insight into lived experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Participant metaphors of the pandemic were collected by conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews (N = 44). Participants were asked to compare the pandemic with an animal and with a color and to provide contextual sensemaking about their metaphors. A metaphor analysis revealed four convergent mental models of participants’ pandemic experiences (i.e., uncertainty, danger, grotesque, and misery) as well as four primary emotions associated with those mental models (i.e., grief, disgust, anger, and fear). Through metaphor, participants were able to articulate deeply felt, implicit emotions about their pandemic experiences that were otherwise obscured and undiscussable. 

Presented at: ICA 2021


Fragmenting feminine-athletic identities: identity turning points during girls’ transitions into high school

By Dr. Alaina C. Zanin, Laura V. Martinez*, & Lucy C. Niess*

This study employed a turning point analysis to document events that influence the development of athletic identities in female athletes transitioning into high school. All participants (N = 28), between the ages of 14–15 years old, belonged to a competitive club soccer team located in the southwestern United States. Through an analysis of pre-and post-season interviews and bi-weekly video journal entries, data revealed several fragmenting turning-point events related to participants’ athletic identity development. These fragmenting turning points paired with the communication theory of identity (CTI) framework highlighted three identity gaps: (a) athletic-relational, (b) athletic-communal, and (c) athletic-enacted. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed regarding turning points in relation to athletic identity development and gender disparities in sport participation.

Presented at: NCA 2020


Toward a typology for negotiating layered identities: An oppositional discourse analysis of girls’ youth sport

By Dr. Alaina C. Zanin, Emilee T. Shearer*, and. Laura V. Martinez*

This study documents how participants in an all-female youth sport organization negotiate oppositional discourses of identity. Employing Fairhurst and Putnam’s (2019) integrative method of organizational discourse analysis, the findings revealed hegemonic and alternative discourses related to gender (i.e., boys and girls are different; boys and girls are the same), which influenced how participants negotiated a nested feminine-athletic identity and nested identity discourses. Finally, this study offers a typology for how members negotiated oppositional nested and higher-order identities through (a) fleeing, (b) challenging, (c) constricting, and (d) expanding. Practical implications for how these oppositional discourses affect participation in life enrichment groups are discussed.

Presented at: ICA 2019

Negotiating identity and the development of incremental mindset in a female adolescent sport context

By Dr. Alaina C. Zanin, Dr. Elissa A. Adame, Lucy C. Niess*, Laura V. Martinez*

The study explores how adolescent female athletes respond to a peer’s sanction on effort towards performances of excellence in athletics or academics. Given their sport experiences, study participants were more likely to believe that they can improve their performances through effort. As a result, participants responded in positive ways to peer sanctions. 

Presented at: NCA 2019

Mirroring empowerment: exploring structural barriers to volunteer motivation fulfillment in an all-female youth sport program

By Dr. Alaina C. Zanin, Dr. Katrina N. Hanna, & Laura V. Martinez*

This study utilizes structuration theory to reveal how volunteer coaches in an all-female youth sport program describe barriers and agency to their organizational mission of athlete empowerment. The dataset in this ethnographic case study comes from volunteer coaching experiences within two youth sport teams. Ethnographic data included field notes from four volunteer coaches, collaborative interviews, archival organizational documents, as well as athlete and parent interviews. A qualitative analysis, informed by structuration theory, revealed specific legitimate, dominant, and symbolic structures that enabled and constrained volunteer and youth athlete empowerment within the teams. The analysis also revealed a process of mirroring empowerment, a novel theoretical concept, which describes how athletes reflected back their own empowerment to empower volunteer coaches.

Presented at: NCA 2019


Athletic identity transformation: A qualitative drawing analysis of implicit constructions of athletes, girls, and the self  Fragmenting feminine-athletic identities: identity turning points during girls’ transitions into high school

By Drs. Alaina C. Zanin, Summer Preston, & Elissa A. Adame

This study utilizes a drawing analysis to elicit identity constructions of two groups of youth in a large metropolitan area located in the Southwestern United States. These two groups were girls, aged 8–12, who either (a) enrolled and participated in a sports program or (b) did not enroll in the program and did not participate in sports (N = 25). Participants were asked to draw images of an athlete, a girl, and themselves, then explain the images to interviewers. A drawing analysis (i.e., an iterative content analysis of participant drawings) revealed differences in implicit notions of what identity characteristics each group of participants attributed to athletes and girls. The analysis also revealed group differences in either similarity or divergence among the three drawings, indicating higher or lower levels of identification with athletes and gender among groups. 

Presented at: WSCA 2018

Performative face in disclosing sexual harassment to close others

By Stephanie Kaczynski* & Dr. Kendra Knight

This research highlights the performative (and resistant) identity work in disclosing sexual harassment experiences to close others, such as friends, family, and romantic partners. Interview narratives reveal sexual harassment targets' attempts to construct their accounts in accordance with a binary of "credible/non-credible accuser" - but also include moments of resistance and transformation. The research suggests how close network members of sexual harassment survivors can provide affirmation and validation of their experiences and their identity.

Presented at: OSCLG 2018