The Relationship of Sport Involvement with Children's Moral Reasoning and Aggression Tendencies

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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The relationships between sport involvement variables (participation and interest) and facets of children's morality (reasoning maturity and aggression tendencies) were investigated for 106 girls and boys in grades 4 through 7. Children responded to a sport involvement questionnaire, participated in a moral interview, and completed two self-report instruments designed to assess aggression tendencies in sport-specific and daily life contexts. Analyses revealed that boys' participation and interest in high contact sports and girls' participation in medium contact sports (the highest level of contact sport experience they reported) were positively correlated with less mature moral reasoning and greater tendencies to aggress. Regression analyses demonstrated that sport interest predicted reasoning maturity and aggression tendencies better than sport participation. Results and implications are discussed from a structural developmental perspective.

David Shields is a Visiting Research Fellow with the Department of Physical Education, University of California, Berkeley. Bruce Cooper is a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Psychologist at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Brenda Jo Bredemeier, 200 Hearst Gymnasium, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.