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Greg W. Schmidt and Gary L. Stein

Sport enjoyment, dropout, and burnout emerged as important areas of research in the 1980s. Smith (1986) and Gould (1987; Gould & Petlichkoff, 1988) have proposed models to account for these phenomena, and both models include elements fromThibaut and Kelley's (1959) social exchange theory. The present paper argues that previous models overlooked an important aspect of social exchange theory and may not be able to adequately account for continued involvement, dropout, and burnout. Kelley's (1983) conception of commitment is offered as an extension of previous models. Recent research examining commitment in close relationships is highlighted, and its relevance to sport is discussed. The proposed model of commitment to sport is able to distinguish between athletes who continue their participation, those who drop out, and those who burn out.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Paul J. Carpenter, Jeffery P. Simons, Greg W. Schmidt and Bruce Keeler

This article presents our progress in developing a set of survey measures to assess constructs of the Sport Commitment Model in the youth-sport domain. Initial item development was accomplished through extensive literature reviews and the expert evaluations of research professionals, teachers, and young athletes. The items were then examined empirically with three separate samples numbering 140, 178, and 1342 athletes, respectively. For the first two samples, items formed reliable scales for each of the model constructs and separated into distinct factors largely as hypothesized. For the third sample, structural-equation modeling was employed and results supported the measurement of four constructs, with the other two constructs held from the measurement model because of item limitations. Overall, results of the three samples indicate reliable measures that can be used in tests of the Sport Commitment Model across samples of youth-sport athletes representing diversity in age, gender, and ethnicity.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Paul J. Carpenter, Jeffery P. Simons, Greg W. Schmidt and Bruce Keeler

This article introduces a sport-specific theoretical model of commitment. Sport commitment is defined as a psychological state representing the desire or resolve to continue sport participation. The Sport Commitment Model proposes that sport commitment is determined by sport enjoyment, involvement alternatives, personal investments, social constraints, and involvement opportunities. Greater sport enjoyment, personal investments, social constraints, involvement opportunities, and less attractive involvement alternatives are predicted to lead to higher levels of sport commitment. Constitutive definitions were established for each of the model's components, and questionnaire items were developed. Results from the first empirical test of the model conducted with girls (n = 95) and boys (n = 83) participating in a Little League program showed that the questionnaire items formed reliable scales. Correlational analyses demonstrated that several predictors were related to sport commitment as hypothesized. Stepwise regression findings revealed that sport enjoyment and personal investments were the dominant predictors of commitment for this sample. Together, these two model components accounted for 58% of the sport commitment variance.