Participation motives of recreational, competitive and elite track and field athletes
Suter, Gabrielle Louise
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The present study examined participation motives of recreational, competitive, and elite athletes, to assess whether their participation motives in athletics differed. Participants (N= 66) were divided into three equal sized groups depending upon their level of participation in athletics. Recreational participants ranged in age from 10-16 years old (M= 11.9, SD= 1.7), competitive participants were 18-22 years old (M= 19.9, SD= 1.1), and the elite category were 18-25 years old (M= 20.4, SD= 1.6). All participants completed the Gill, Gross and Huddleston (1983) Participation Motivation Questionnaire. The results supported the hypothesis that level of athletic participation has an affect on participation motives, and that motives differ between the recreational, competitive and elite athletes. The first phase of the analysis used a one way analysis of variance to identify differences between the level of participation and the categories of motives as identified by Gill et al. (1983). The ANOVA revealed significant differences for team-orientation (p<0.05), situational motives (p<0.01), and enjoyment motives (p<0.01). Post hoc tests revealed that recreational athletes rated team-orientated motives significantly higher than competitive athletes. Recreational athletes also considered situational motives as more important than the competitive and elite athletes. Finally, the elite group rated enjoyment motives higher than recreational and competitive athletes. Based on mean scores, recreational athletes rated improving and learning new skills, and fun as their most important participation motives, whilst the elite athletes rated going to a higher level and challenge as more important motives. Results based upon mean scores and most important motives suggest that as athletes become more experienced, their motives change.
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