Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Activity Involvement, Goal Perspective, and Self-Esteem among Mexican American Adolescents

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Activity Involvement, Goal Perspective, and Self-Esteem among Mexican American Adolescents

Article excerpt

Key words: allocentrism, competence, goal orientations, motivation

Within the activity participation literature much attention has been given to the role of motivation in achievement settings. Recent social-cognitive theory of achievement motivation has proposed that individuals interpret competence and, consequently, define success in activity performance through two distinct goal perspectives, termed task and ego involvements (Ames, 1984; Duda, 1992; Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Nicholls, 1989; Roberts, 1992). Task goal perspective implies learning experience, task mastery, and personal improvement as reflecting high competence and subjective success. Perception of ability tends to be self-referenced for task-oriented individuals. In contrast, ego goal perspective involves comparison to others, a normative view of competence. For ego-oriented individuals, high ability is predicated on outperforming and displaying superiority over those with whom they compare themselves. Goal perspectives have been investigated in relation to sport-participation initiation, involvement, and maint enance; activity patterns, rates, anxiety, interest, and satisfaction; and gender and age-related population groups (Duda & Nicholls, 1992; Li, Harmer, & Acock, 1996; Martin & Gill, 1991; Ntoumanis & Biddle, 1998; Treasure & Roberts, 1994; Weiss & Petlichkoff, 1989; White & Duda, 1994; Williams, 1998). In general, findings have shown task perspective to be more associated with positive perceptions and behaviors and ego perspective to be more affiliated with negative associations. Boys tend to be more ego oriented, whereas girls tend to be more task oriented.

Self-esteem is the evaluative component of self-concept, the positive or negative manner in which a person judges herself or himself (Marshall, 1989). The degree to which one perceives oneself as competent and worthwhile determines self-esteem, which, in turn, forms the foundation of emotional well being (Pope, McHale, & Craighead, 1988). Self-esteem has been shown to have a reciprocal relationship with sport and activity behaviors; higher self-esteem is associated with greater involvement, while involvement itself can influence self-esteem (Greenberg, Dintiman, & Oakes, 1998; Sonstroem & Morgan, 1989). Considering activity involvement, achievement motivation and self-esteem are conceptually similar in that one's perception and interpretation of competence helps dictate participation undertaking and continuance (Demo & Savin-Williams, 1983; Fox & Corbin, 1989; Rosenberg, 1965; Weiss & Chaumeton, 1992). However, most literature on this topic has been derived from a primarily Eurocentric perspective. This sugg ests a need for studying those with differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds to better understand activity participation motivations.

Hispanics are the second largest and fastest-growing minority in the United States, making up about 11% of the total population (Bureau of the Census, 1997). Among Mexican Americans, who account for about two-thirds of all Hispanics, approximately 45% are 20 years of age or younger, with a significant number representing first or second generation Mexican immigrants (Bureau of the Census, 1997). First generation immigrant status is defined as being born in Mexico, while second generation is at least one parent having been born in Mexico. Allocen-trism is a self-orientation emphasizing the collective needs, objectives, and points of view of the group and has been associated with cooperation, conformity, and readiness to be influenced by others (Triandis, 1994). This characteristic has been identified as a predominant Mexican American cultural value and differs in significant ways from mainstream American self-orientation values of competition, individualism, and achievement (Canino, 1994; Comas-Diaz, 1995; Hofstede, 1980; Marin & Triandis, 1985).

The nature of goal perspectives and self-esteem influences on activity behavior among Mexican Americans remains unclear, because much of the research had been conducted with nonminority achievement-oriented participants. …

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