Competitive Orientations among Intercollegiate Athletes: Is Winning the Only Thing?

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of North Carolina, Greensboro
  • 2 Kansas State University
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In this exploratory investigation of competitive orientations, intercollegiate athletes from a highly competitive Division I program and nonathletes from the same university completed Gill’s Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ) which assesses competitiveness, win and goal orientation; Vealey’s Competitive Orientation Inventory (COI) which assesses the relative importance of performing well (performance) and winning (outcome) in competitive sports; and Helmreich and Spence’s Work and Family Orientation Questionnaire (WOFO), a general achievement orientation measure. A Gender × Athlete/Nonathlete MANOVA yielded both gender and athlete/nonathlete main effects and no interaction. The gender difference was most evident for competitiveness scores, with males scoring higher than females on competitiveness and win orientation. Athletes scored higher than nonathletes on most measures, but especially so on the sport-specific competitiveness score. Athletes also placed more emphasis on performance and less on outcome than nonathletes did. A secondary analysis compared the eight athletic teams and revealed considerable variation among teams. Generally the team differences were not gender differences but seemed to reflect the competitive structure of the activity.

Diane L. Gill is with the Department of Physical Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412. David A. Dzewaltowski is with the Department of Physical Education & Leisure Studies at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

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