Term of Award

2002

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Sport Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Kevin L. Burke

Committee Member 1

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 2

Barry A. Munkasy

Abstract

The extent to which athletes identify with sports is becoming more prevalent among society as the pressures to perform well increases. However, a limited amount of research has been conducted that addresses specific characteristics of those with a strong athletic identity. The degree to which competition level, gender, race, team sport participation versus individual sport participation, and one sport versus multiple sports participation affects athletic identity was investigated. A comparison between the athletic identity scores of those who planned to continue with their athletic careers either on the collegiate or professional level to those who did not was also investigated. The Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS) (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Lmder, 1993) and a demographic questionnaire assessing gender, age, race, type of sport involvement, level of competition, and one question regarding the participants' future plans of continuing with their athletic career were completed by 221 varsity athletes (48 men, 173 women). Participants were from four high schools and three colleges in the Southeastern portion of the United States, participating in a variety of 15 sports with respect to level of competition. Results indicated a significant difference between high school participants (A/= 36.21, SI) = 7.87) and college participants (M= 38.65, SD = 7.33),p = .021. A significant difference was also found between those participants who planned to continue with their athletic career following their current level of involvement {M= 38 93, SD = 7.28) and those who did not (M= 35.47, SD = 7.76),p = .001. No significant differences were found among gender, race, individual versus team sports, or one sport versus multiple sports. Results revealed that collegiate athletes identify more strongly with sports than high school athletes and that those athletes who planned to continue with their athletic career have stronger athletic identities than those who did not plan to continue.

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