Sport enjoyment, dropout, and burnout emerged as important areas of research in the 1980s. Smith (1986) and Gould (1987; Gould & Petlichkoff, 1988) have proposed models to account for these phenomena, and both models include elements fromThibaut and Kelley's (1959) social exchange theory. The present paper argues that previous models overlooked an important aspect of social exchange theory and may not be able to adequately account for continued involvement, dropout, and burnout. Kelley's (1983) conception of commitment is offered as an extension of previous models. Recent research examining commitment in close relationships is highlighted, and its relevance to sport is discussed. The proposed model of commitment to sport is able to distinguish between athletes who continue their participation, those who drop out, and those who burn out.
Greg W. Schmidt is with the Department of Psychology, MTSU, Box 505, Mur-freesboro, TN 37132. Gary L. Stein is with the Dept. of Exercise and Movement Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1273.