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Group Differences on Achievement Goal Orientations, Perceived Ability, and Level of Satisfaction during an Athletic Season

Linda M. Petlichkoff

This study examined group differences among interscholastic sport participants (Le., starters, nonstarters, and survivors) on several psychological constructs. Specifically, achievement goal orientations, perceived ability, and costs/benefits of involvement were examined over the course of an interscholastic sport season. Athletes (N=249) responded to an Interscholastic Sport Questionnaire on three occasions during the season. The results from a doubly multivariate repeated-measures MANOVA revealed a significant Player Status × Time of Assessment interaction. Follow-up analyses for player status differences indicated that perceived ability contributed substantially to group differences. Specifically, starters rated their perceived ability higher than survivors at all three assessments, and higher than nonstarters at the initial assessment. For the time-of-season differences, only survivors differed significantly across the three assessments on the mastery and ability goal orientations, and level of satisfaction. Results indicated that the end-of-season assessments for survivors were lower on each measure than at both the tryout and prior-to-competition assessments.

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Relationship of Player Status and Time of Season to Achievement Goals and Perceived Ability in Interscholastic Athletes

Linda M. Petlichkoff

The purpose of this investigation was to replicate and extend previous research (16) that examined group differences (starters, primary and secondary substitutes) on achievement goal orientations, perceived ability, and level of satisfaction. Athletes (N=417), ranging in age from 14 to 18 years, responded to an interscholastic sport questionnaire at preseason and postseason. Multivariate analyses revealed significant player status and time-of-season main effects for males, females, and age groups 14–15 years, 16 years, and 17–18 years. Follow-up analyses indicated that starters were significantly higher on their perceived ability rating than primary and secondary substitutes. Group differences also revealed there were player status differences on the ability and mastery goal orientations for males and females, and for 17- to 18-year-olds. The time main effect revealed that the mastery orientation decreased from the preseason to postseason assessment.

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Youth Sport Participation and Withdrawal: Is It Simply a Matter of FUN?

Linda M. Petlichkoff

In 1990 the Athletic Footwear Association (AFA) (1) released a report entitled “American Youth and Sports Participation” that examined teenagers’ (ages 10-18 years) feelings about their sport involvement. This report was the culmination of an extensive study of more than 10,000 young people from 11 cities across the U.S. in which issues related to why teenagers participate, why they quit, and their feelings about winning were addressed. The results highlighted in the AFA report indicate that (a) participation in organized sports declines sharply as youngsters get older, (b) “fun” is the key reason for involvement and “lack of fun” is one of the primary reasons for discontinuing, (c) winning plays less of a role than most adults would think, and (d) not all athletes have the same motivations for their involvement.

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Children’s Motivation for Participation in and Withdrawal from Sport: Identifying the Missing Links

Maureen R. Weiss and Linda M. Petlichkoff

Children’s reasons for participating in sport as well as their reasons for discontinuing involvement have been extensively studied over the last decade. However, a complete understanding of the underlying processes influencing these phenomena has been clouded by failing to consider a number of individual difference and contextual factors related to sport participation. These missing links include participant status group differences, program type, level of intensity, type of sport, particular reasons for attrition, multiple assessments across a season, developmental differences, and the social structure surrounding the sport experience. Future research possibilities and practical implications for pediatric educators are provided.