Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Motivational Gender Differences in Sport and Exercise Participation among University Sport Science Students

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Motivational Gender Differences in Sport and Exercise Participation among University Sport Science Students

Article excerpt


Motivation is a complex process that influences individuals to begin, pursue, and persist in an activity. Crandall (1980) stated that needs and motivation can be treated as forces that cause people to seek certain behaviours.Research has determined that there are motivational differences between male and female sports and exercise participants. It has been reported that male and female athletes have different strengths and weaknesses within the motivational climate. Indeed, recent studies suggest that involvement in physical activity is mediated by motivation and perceived sports competence (Ames, 1984 ).

Participation in physical activity among university students has often been overlooked because so much attention has centered on the negative image of university students who spend their leisure time watching television or socializing (Lumpkin, 1998).Motivation to engage in PA should be at the crux of health behavior promotion programmes. It is postulated that understanding motivation is key to health-promotion efforts by sports practitioners and exercise advisers (Dishman & Sallis, 1994). Motivation is the intrinsic determination toward goal attainment and Self-motivation is the best determinant of exercise adherence (Dishman & Sallis, 1994). Intrinsic motivation for exercise and sports are behaviours that are performed for the satisfaction gained in the activity itself. Deci and Ryan (1985) argue that intrinsic motivation indicators are commonly those of competency, interest and enjoyment. In contrast to the provision of external influences, the primary goal for health providers (promoting lifestyle modification) is the facilitation of the individual's internal motivation (Dweck,1986). On the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes from external sources, such as the lure of awards, trophies, money, fame, praise and social approval (Bandura, 1986). Interestingly, it has been found that although extrinsic motivation is a strong motivator, it can undermine intrinsic motivation (Harter, 1981).

Theoretical Framework.

There are numerous theories which have been applied in the study of motivation in sports and exercise and this study will be hankered on self-determination theory and achievement goal theory.

Self Determination Theory (SDT)

The basic premise of SDT is that humans inherently possess it. These facilitate the adoption of behaviours and activities that provide for their fulfillment. Intrinsic motivation is thought to be the primary source of energy for human behaviour and its presence facilitates behaviour maintenance and adherence. In contrast, motives that are based on extrinsic factors and rewards create a condition that may or may not facilitate adherence. In such cases, the nature and delivery of the extrinsic reward powerfully impact the decision to continue in a given activity. SDT also involves the concept of amotivation, or having no sense of purpose and lacking intent to engage in a particular behaviour. SDT posits that the different types of motivation range on a continuum from high to low self-determination; intrinsic motivation-extrinsic motivation- a motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Vallerand (1997) embraced elements of SDT and integrated them within a hierarchical theory of motivation. His model asserts that social factors, mediators (autonomy, competence, and relatedness), motivations and consequences (affect, cognition and behaviour) exist at three levels, the global level, contextual level, and situational level. A number of studies have indicated that behavioral regulations spanning the SDT continuum would lead to a corresponding pattern of consequences (Standage, et al 2003; Wilson, Rodgers, Fraser, & Murray, 2004). Autonomous regulations and intrinsic motivation are expected to correspond with more positive outcomes, whereas less self-determined forms of regulation (external and introverted regulations) correspond with more negative outcomes, such as poor focus, burnout, and dropout. …

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