Joy C. Bunt

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Plowman, Sharon A.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Volleyball for women; Field hockey players


The purposes of the study were: (1) to measure and compare selected menstrual and physical activity characteristics in 24 members, age 18-29. of the NIU women's intercollegiate field hockey (FH) or volleyball (VB) teams; (2) to measure and compare percent body fat values in the teams; (3) to compare the responses of cortisol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to competition based on team affiliation; and (4) to compare the responses of cortisol, FSH and LH to competition based on menstrual phase. Between group results of the questionnaire data, skinfold measurements and hormone levels were statistically analyzed with the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test. The McNemar test was utilized for within group changes and a one-way analysis of variance was used to compare between group changes for each hormone. Comparisons of menstrual and physical activity histories showed that there were no significant differences between the two teams in terms of age of menarche (FH = 13.4 yrs., ±.31; VB = 13.6 yrs., ±.28), age at onset of training (FH = 12.15 yrs., ±.71; VB = 11.82 yrs., ±.66), total number of years of competition (FH = 7 yrs., ±.86; VB = 7.36 yrs., ±.64), and activity level (FH = 2.94 ±.37; VB = 2.91 ±.10) for the past year. None of the subjects, with the exception of two FH players, had a history of menstrual dysfunction. Every subject had begun training prior to menarche, yet this had no apparent effect on the present functioning of their menstrual cycles. Mean percent body fat measurements were similar between the teams (FH = 22.84%, ±2.08; VB = 21.35%, ±.89) with field hockey having a wider range. Cortisol levels were higher than the normal range prior to the games and increased by 3.74 µg% (±2.95) in the FH players and 3.8 µg% (±1.29) in the VB players. These increases, howevever, were not significant. FSH rose slightly in the VB players (+.45 mlU/ml, ±1.85) and decreased slightly in the FH players (-1.42 mlU/ml, ±.74) following competition. Although these responses were different, they were not significant. LH levels decreased by 4.5 mlU/ ml (±5.46) in the IH team and by 1.19 mlU/ml (±2.40) in the VB team, resulting in nonsignificant changes. Cortisol increased slightly more during the luteal phase (+5.7 µg% ±4.82) than the follicular phase (+2.97 µg% ±1.31) but it was not statistically different. While FSH levels were higher in the follicular phase (11.69 mlU/ml, ±1.39) than in the luteal phase (6.68 mlU/ml, ±.53) initially, the levels remained unchanged as a result of competition. LH levels remained unchanged in response to competition in the follicular phase and dropped during the luteal phase by 10.41 mlU/ml (±9.37). This decrease was not significant. As a result of these data it was concluded that training for and competing in intercollegiate volleyball and field hockey did not appear to affect the menstrual functioning of the athletes that were tested.


Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 73 pages




Northern Illinois University

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