Term of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Kevin L. Burke

Committee Member 1

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 2

Charles J. Hardy


The purpose of this exploratory investigation was to examine the relationship between optimism and pessimism and sport orientation (competitiveness, win orientation, and goal orientation) in intercollegiate athletes from a southeastern university. More generally, this study compared whether optimistic and pessimistic college athletes differ in sport orientation. A secondary purpose was to determine whether optimism, pessimism, and sport orientation differ between gender, race, age, athletic grade classification, type of sport, and scholarship type. University athletes (N=259) from 15 different teams (women's = softball & volleyball; men's = baseball, football, golf; men's & women's = soccer, swimming, tennis, cross country, basketball) were administered the Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994) and the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (Gill & Deeter, 1988). Due to recent discussions in the optimism and pessimism (O/P) literature, O/P scores were calculated using two separate scoring techniques. One scoring technique allows an individual to be classified on both characteristics, while the other treats the trait as a bipolar dimension. Separate independent samples t-tests and one-way ANOVAs were used to determine if differences existed between groups. The alpha level was set at p<.001. Results revealed no significant differences between optimistic and pessimistic athletes on win orientation, goal orientation, and competitiveness. Male athletes showed significantly higher win orientation levels than female athletes. Black athletes possessed significantly higher win orientation levels than white athletes. Team sport athletes showed significantly higher win orientation and competitiveness levels than individual athletes. Red-shirt athletes showed significantly higher competitiveness and win orientation levels than non red-shirt athletes. Full scholarship athlete possessed significantly higher win orientation levels than partial scholarship athletes. Results from this study suggested that optimistic and pessimistic athletes are similar in sport orientation.


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