Participation motives and goal orientations in physical activity and sport: their relationship in a sample of British university students

Monica Dorobantu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The available evidence on participation motivation largely concerns North American children (e.g. Gillet al., 1983). Little is known about why British adults participate in sport and physical activity. The Heartbeat Wales (1987) survey found that 'incentives to take up sport' were mainly related to health-related factors, including the desire to maintain health , become fitter, and Jose weight. Ashford et al.'s (1993) study with British sport participants in local community sports centres reported four categories of reasons for participation: physical well -being (health & fitness); socio-psychological well-being (aesthetics, relaxation, affiliation, environment, eustress); sports mastery and performance (skills, competition, excellence, self-learning) and assertive achievement (power, aggression, independence, status). Gender differences were also found with males being higher on sport mastery and performance and assertive achievement motives than females. Achievement motivation theory (Nicholls, 1989) predicts that individuals adopt either a task or ego goal orientation in achievement settings. Those predominantly task-oriented define success in self-referenced terms (i.e. mastering skills, self­ improvement and working hard). Those more ego-oriented define success in other-person referenced terms (i.e. outperforming others, preferably with less effort). Achievement goal theory implies that dispositional achievement goal orientations influence sport motivation (Duda, 1993). White and Duda (1994) found that ego-oriented individuals were more likely to report motives associated with recognition/status, whereas task-oriented participants stressed _ skill development, fitness, affiliation and team membership as reasons for their sport involvement. Zahariadis and Biddle (2000) found that task orientation was most strongly related to intrinsic motives such as skill development and team aspects, whereas ego orientation was related most clearly to extrinsic motives such as status/recognition. It was hypothesi sed that given the 'other-person' referencing of ego­ oriented individuals, ego orientation will be associated with extrinsic, socially derived, motivational patterns. In contrast, task­ orientation- a self-referenced framework - will be associated with intrinsically motivated incentives. The purposes of this study were: 1) to examine the nature of motives for participation of British young adults; 2) to ascertain the nature and extent of gender differences in participation motives and 3) to identify the relationship between participation motives and achievement goal orientations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Xth world congress of sport psychology
Place of PublicationThessaloniki, Greece
PublisherChristodoulidi Publications
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9607577302
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
EventProceedings of the Xth world congress of sport psychology - University of Thessaly, Skiathos, Greece
Duration: 1 Jan 2001 → …


ConferenceProceedings of the Xth world congress of sport psychology
Period1/01/01 → …


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