Faculty Research at Morehead State University


The Effects of Sport Participation on Student-Athletes’ and Non-Athlete Students’ Social Life and Identity

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This study examined perceived athletic identity, sport commitment, and the effect of sport participation to identify the impact of athletic participation on college students. This study surveyed 163 student-athletes (59%) and 112 non-athlete students (41%) from a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division-I affiliated institution (males = 172, 62.5%; females = 103, 37.5%). The survey questionnaire was developed and modified from four well-established instruments, the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, the Sport Commitment Model, the Life Roles Inventory-Values Scales, and Athletic Involvement on the Social Life. The data collection process was initiated and completed in the 2008 spring semester. Seven sub-factors: Personal Role, Importance of Sport, Personal Attributes, Expectation of Others, Core Benefits, Social Relationship and Special Behaviors, were identified through a series of factor analyses. The participants placed their athletic role highly and moderately agreed with the researchers’ proposed core benefits of athletic participation. Overall, the findings supported past research in regards to gender and year in college difference, influence in perceived athletic identity due to sport specificity, and benefits of sport involvement. Variation in participants’ responses based on different demographic characteristics, suggestions for improving current supportive programs, and direction for future studies are further discussed.