Sport Identity and Motivation for Sport Participation: A Comparison between American College Athletes and Austrian Student Sport Club Members

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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The aim of this study is to compare competition, fitness, and social motivation for sport participation between American college athletes and Austrian student sport club members. Our hypotheses are drawn from symbolic interactionist theory, and we define sport motivation as the reasons that people give for participating in sport. The respondents are 301 University of Vienna student members of Austrian sport clubs and 397 college athletes drawn from three schools in Ohio. The results indicate (a) statistically significant main effects for ANOVA comparisons between competition and fitness motivation and the factors of gender and country, (b) a statistically significant two-way interaction between social motivation and gender and country, and (c) statistically significant Pearson product moment correlations between competition and fitness motives and the involvement of self in the sport role. Thus, we conclude that motivation for sport participation is likely to be influenced by the values of the sport organization as well as the sport and gender identities of the participant.

Timothy Jon Curry is with the Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, 375 Bricker Hall, 190 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210. Otmar Weiss is with the Institut für Sportwissenschaften der Universität Wien, 1150 Wien, Auf der Schmelz 6, Vienna, Austria.

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