A Comparison of Sport and Nonsport Occupational Aspirations among Disadvantaged Youth

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Mary A. McElroy Kansas State University

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Sport and nonsport career choices among economically disadvantaged adolescents enrolled in a summer sports program were explored. It was hypothesized that youngsters with sport career aspirations would demonstrate differences in sport-related attitudes and experiences when compared to youngsters with nonsport career aspirations. Nonsport career aspirations were categorized into two groups: one representing “high prestige” occupations and one representing “low prestige” occupations. Discriminant analysis revealed that disadvantaged youths' career aspirations were differentially related to the sport-related factors. Contrary to warnings of the potential dysfunctional consequences for those who aspire to sport careers, adolescents with sport career aspirations consistently scored higher on achievement-related socialization factors than those aspiring for traditional low-prestige occupations. Sex differences were noted and discussed in light of the role of sport in the lower class social environment.

Reprint requests should be sent to Mary A. McElroy, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66502.

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