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Understanding sport participation motivation in early adolescent females : the role of friendship and physical self-perceptions McDonough, Meghan H.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the role of sport friendship quality, athletic competence and attractiveness perceptions, global self-worth, and sport enjoyment in predicting motivation to participate in sport among young adolescent female sport participants. Two hundred and twenty-nine female team sport participants between the ages of eleven and fourteen participated in this study. Participants completed the athletic competence, physical attractiveness, and self-worth subscales of the Self-Perception Profile for Children (Harter, 1985), the Sport Friendship Quality Scale (Weiss & Smith, 1999), the sport enjoyment and sport commitment subscales of the Sport Commitment Model (Scanlan, Simons, Carpenter, Schmidt, & Keeler, 1993), and two items assessing intention to return to the present sport and sport in general. Sport enjoyment and intention to return means were very high and the distributions highly skewed, indicating that participants enjoy sport and are highly motivated to continue playing, but also made determine predictors and outcomes of these variables difficult. Correlational and multiple regression analysis suggested that self-worth was predicted primarily by physical attractiveness perceptions, with athletic competence perceptions making a minor contribution. Sport enjoyment was partially predicted by having things in common with one's best sport friend. Sport enjoyment predicted sport commitment and intentions to return. No relationship was found between self-worth and sport enjoyment. A path analysis of two models of participation motivation found that neither model fit the data well. Model modification procedures were undertaken to find a more parsimonious model and to identify potential relationships for future research. This study did not provide strong support for a predictive role of sport friendship quality and physical self perceptions in predicting sport enjoyment and motivation, or for a model where selfesteem is a separate outcome of antecedents of motivation, rather than a mediating variable. The lack of variance on enjoyment and motivation variables greatly limited the ability of this study to determine predictors and outcomes of sport enjoyment and motivation. Future studies examining other aspects of youth peer relationships in sport are needed to explore their effects on sport related affect, motivation, and self-worth.

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