Survey Shows Radcliffe Athletes See Themselves as 'All-American'

Non-participants in Radcliffe's voluntary athletic program tend to think themselves intellectual and attractive, while participants classify themselves as "all-American" but "plain Jane," Mrs. Barbara B. Pillinger, sports instructor at Radcliffe, said yesterday.

Mrs. Pillinger distributed a detailed questionnaire to the Class of '66 last spring as part of an Amy Morris Homans research grant from Wellesley College. Seventy-four per cent of the class responded, and Mrs. Pillinger used the two dorms that seemed most representative for her preliminary findings.

55 Per Cent Participated

In Briggs and Eliot Halls, 55 per cent of the 'Cliffies participated in sports, and 45 per cent never joined an activity offered under the voluntary athletic program, which was initiated in 1961. Although only 44 girls are included in the responses from these two houses, Mrs. Pillinger stated that their answers are probably "strongly indicative of the whole though not conclusive."

Strong emphasis was placed on the "self-image" each girl has of herself, and response indicated significant discrepancy between the participant and non-participant. "Other-directed" tendencies were prominent in active sportswomen, while the inactive girls were decidedly "inner" oriented.


The girl who never came back after her swimming test considered her "life philosophy" as one of freewill, while the versatile athlete combined belief in free will with determinism. The preference of 95 per cent of the inactive for a voluntary program compared to 71 per cent of the athletes, may be related to these beliefs.

The questionnaire showed that the athletic participant herself tall, overweight, and uncoordinated, while the non-participants were more self-assured, assessing themselves as of medium height and weight, and graceful bearing. Mrs. Pillinger noted that not one 'Cliffie checked the box titled "underweight."

There doesn't seem to be any relationship between school background and participation, and the evidence on group standing is "inconclusive," Mrs. Pillinger said.