An important issue facing sport psychology researchers as well as practitioners is understanding the motives of children involved in youth sport programs. The present study extended previous work in this area by examining parental perceptions of their children’s motivations and perceived competencies in addition to the typically assessed variables of youth-reported motives and perceived competencies. Eighty-one children and one of their parents from a youth soccer league served as subjects for this study. Results indicated that children and parents alike ranked intrinsic motives such as feeling good and having fun as primary reasons for participation. In addition, both parents and children rated external reasons as the lowest priorities for participation. Multivariate analyses of variance indicated that children rated all the motive subscales more positively than their parents. No significant relationships were found between perceived competencies and motives.
Penny McCullagh is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. Karen Matzkanin, Susan Shaw, and Marcela Maldonado were students at the time of this study.
This project was partially supported by funds from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) awarded to the third and fourth authors under the direction of the first author. Karen Matzkanin was a graduate student at the time of this study. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, Seattle, 1990.
The authors would like to thank Maureen Weiss for her helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.