The purpose of this study was to investigate the participation motives and goal orientations of participants in the Hong Kong Master Games. The participants were 108 men and 52 women (N=160). The age range of participants was 35 to 77 years old (M= 46.2, SD = 9.2). They were divided into three age groups (30-39 years old, n=32; 40-49 years old, n=96; above 50 years old, n=32). The Participation Motivation Inventory (Gill, Gross & Huddleston, 1983), and the Task and Ego Orientations Questionnaire (Duda & Whitehead, 1998) were utilized. The top five participation motives were fun, affiliation/friendship, fitness, skill development and achievement/status. The participation motives and the goal orientations for men and women were similar. The oldest adults had significantly higher scores on the eight participation motives: fun, skill development, fitness, team atmosphere, achievement/ status, affiliation /friendship, energy release and miscellaneous than the younger and middle age adults. The mean score on task orientation was higher than the ego orientation for all participants. The empirical results of this Hong Kong study support earlier studies (Vogel, Brechat, Leprete, Kaltenbach, Berthal & Lonsdorfer, 2009) that strongly encourage physical activity leaders to design sport and physical activity programs for adults in order to enhance their physical, social, psychological and mental well being.
Key Words: motivation, physical activity, task and ego orientation, master games
Historically, sociologically, politically, culturally and now medically, sport and physical activity has a long history of contributing to the overall evolution and positive growth of the human species (Bloom, Grant, & Watt, 2005). More recently a very strong body of evidence has been developed to support the theory that regular physical activity contributes to the overall health of the human species throughout the lifecycle- from childhood to old age, supporting the old adage that it is “never too early nor too late” to participate in sport and physical activity (Shepherd, 1995, Levy, 1998; Galloway & Jokl, 2000; Colcombe & Krame, 2003, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Furthermore, physical inactivity has serious health, economic and political implications in a world where health is at the core of a vibrant and prosperous society (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000; Conference Board of Canada, 2005). As the population of older adults in developed nations is increasing, “aging well” and successful active aging programs have become a critical area of scientific study related to geriatric health care (Graves, 2002) .
In Hong Kong, the proportion of population aged 35 to 64 and above 65 has increased from 28.3% and 3.2% in 1961 to 46.6 % and 12.8% in 2009 respectively (Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, 2010). Sport and physical activities play such an important role in keeping the ever aging population healthy, governments at all levels, pay more attention and efforts to promote the concept on “Sport for all” to the general public (Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 2005; Cheung, 2009).
For the past twelve years, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has been organizing the Master Games to promote a physically active lifestyle for Hong Kong citizens. The emphasis of these games has been on participation and enjoyment rather than winning prizes (Leisure and Cultural Services Department, 2004). However, it also happened that there was very limited research conducted on investigating the motivations underlying participation among individuals aged 35 and above taking part in the Master games. However, if we hope to understand why Hong Kong people participate in sport and physical activity while other become couch potatoes and strain the health care system, motivational research of this kind is badly needed. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate these critical motivational determinants behind the participants in the Master Games in Hong Kong.
Motivation comes from the Latin word “movere” which means “to move” and it is the energy or intensity underlying behavior (Carron, 1980). Motivation refers to those personality factors, social variables, or cognitions that come into play, enter into competition to attain some standard of excellence.
Gill, Gross and Huddleston (1983) had identified the motivations into eight main factors, which were achievement/ status, team atmosphere, fitness, energy release, skill development, affiliation/ friendship, fun and miscellaneous (e.g. like to use the equipment). Researchers stated that enjoyment, interest and competence motives were the internal factors which played an important role in motivating individuals to participate in sports (Scanlan, Stein & Ravizza, 1989a, 1989b; and Frederick & Ryan, 1993). Scanlan, Stein and Ravizza, (1989b) found that social and life opportunities (affiliation/friendship motive) and social recognition (factor of achievement/ status) were the other important factors to motivate people to take part in physical activity.
The Achievement goal theory was originally developed to explain educational achievement. This theory was widely applied in the context of sport and exercise researches (Lavallee, Kremer, Moram, & Williams, 2004). The two main achievement goals (task goal orientation and ego goal orientation) are the factors which determine a person’s motivation (Weinberg & Gould, 2003). Nicholls (1989) believed that goal orientations reflected an individual’s view of the world and were conceptually related to beliefs held on the cause of success. In addition, Ferrer and Weiss (2000) also stated that the strongest predictors of intrinsic motivation, effort and persistence were task goal orientation, perceived competence, and learning climate.
Individual with task-oriented goals focuses on self-referenced perceptions of personal competence and personal development, emphasis on mastery of skills, working hard, developing lifetime skills and improving from one point of time to the next. On the other hand, an ego-oriented goal individual focuses on surpassing or exceeding the performance of others and preferably with low effort (Duda & Nicholls, 1992).
There is a positive relationship between task-oriented and intrinsic motivation. Because the sport experience is an end in itself, by its defining features, the task-oriented individual focuses on the process rather than the competition outcomes when participating in sport. While the ego-involved goal perspective is more likely to decrease intrinsic motivation as the individual’s perceived ability and self-confidence are tied to how he/she compares with others (Duda, Chi, Newton, Walling & Catley, 1995, Cox 2007). For instance, task-oriented individuals who are assumed to experience intrinsic motivations and would like to choose a challenging task, show off their effort and have a strong work ethics as their motives, are more likely to focus on the skill development, fitness and team membership. The ego-oriented participants are assumed to show minimal effort, have low perceived competence, and more likely to protect self-worth with motives focusing on competition and recognition/ status (White & Duda, 1994; Robert & Treasure, 1995; and Roberts Treasure & Balague, 1998).
In motivation research, men valued self-competitive, reward, and skill improvement as their participation motives in physical activities. Whereas women valued self-expression, stress reduction, weight loss and relaxation, especially in weight control and appearance motives (Mathes, McGiven & Schneider, 1992). Furthermore, Frederick and Ryan (1993) reported that the main distinction of gender differences in sport participation was that men rated health and fitness, competition and challenge as the top participation motives; while women rated tension release, body-related and social factors as their top participation motives.
In goal achievement, most of the previous researches revealed that women had significantly higher scores in task orientation than men, and men had significantly higher score in ego orientation (Duda, 1989; Newton & Duda, 1993; Walling & Duda, 1995).
Individuals have different reasons for participating in sports and physical activities. Rudman (1989) had investigated members enrolled in fitness program of a private sport club and reported that the younger participants (aged under 34 years) took part in sports because of the psychological benefits such as dealing with stress related to work and enhancing their physical attractiveness. For the participants of middle age (35-49 years), their participation motives were more the philosophical with ideological reasons such as family obligations and enjoyment/ fun. For the oldest participants (above 50 years), their participation motives were psychological and social reasons such as feeling younger and social networking with family members and friends.
Moreover, Kleiber and Kelly (1980) identified that both the younger adults with ages approximately 20 to mid-30s and the older adults who were above 60 years old chose the social goals as a reason for participating in sports, while the middle-age adults (35-50 years old) identified their participation goals as seeking close personal relationship. In addition, Brodkin andWeiss (1990) found that all the younger adults (23-39 years), the middle-aged adults (40-59 years) and the older adults (above 60 years) rated skill improvement, fun and being active as their main participation motives while engaging in swimming competition. They also found that being with friends was the most important motive for both the middle-age and the older adults.
Goal orientations may be changed by socialization experiences and aging over time. Brodkin and Weiss (1990) pointed out that young athletes who participated in sport looked more for social recognition than the middle-aged and older adults. Similarly, Duda and Tappe (1988) reported there was a decrease in competition objectives from younger to older men, if the exercise program became too challenging and they needed to perform with great physical competence. Older adults chose not to participate if the competence level rose too much. Thus, Kleiber and Kelly (1980) summarized that there was a movement away from an ego orientation in the middle-aged and the older adults, thus the middle-aged and the older adults would not be interested in physically demanding recreation activities.
A total of 160 participants (108 men and 52 women) at the Hong Kong Master Games, were invited to participate in this study. The participants were from 35 to 77 years old (M= 46.15 years old, SD= 9.2). They were divided into three age groups (30-39 years old, n=32; 40-49 years old, n=96; above 50 years old, n=32). Convenient sampling method was used and the selected eight events were: tennis, orienteering, distance run, swimming, badminton, squash, lawn bowls and gate ball.
The measuring instruments used for the study were the Participation Motivation Inventory (Gill, Gross & Huddleston, 1983) and Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (Duda & Whitehead, 1998). The questionnaire was divided into three sections. The first part was the participation motives. The second part was the task and ego orientation; while the third part was the personal information, such as the frequency and duration of practicing.
The participants were requested to choose the most appropriate response that could best describe their personal feelings based on a 5-point Likert Scales. There were 30 items in the Participation Motivation Inventory. Participants responded to the statement: “I participated in the Master Games because …” by indicating their preferences from 1 (Very unimportant) to 5 (Very important). The scale revealed eight motivational factors: fun, achievement/status, team atmosphere, fitness, energy release, skill development, affiliation/ friendship and such miscellaneous motives as participation motives for sport and physical activity. The Task and Ego Orientation in the Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ) consisted of 13 items. The responses ranked the statement “I feel most successful in sports when …” from 1(strongly disagree) to 5(strongly agree). There were 7 items on task orientation and 6 items on ego orientation on the TEOSQ.
The Participation Motivation Inventory could be categorized into eight participation motives. The rank order of participation motive scores from the highest to the lowest were the following: Fun (M = 4.35, SD = 0.53 ); Affiliation /Friendship (M= 4.11, SD = 0.65); Fitness (M= 4.00, SD = 0.69); Skill development (M= 3.96, SD = 0.72); Achievement/ Status (M = 3.70, SD = 0.70); Team atmosphere (M = 3.58, SD = 0.99); Energy release (M = 3.36, SD = 0.74) and Miscellaneous (M = 2.99, SD = 0.82).
As the number of participant per cell was too small to conduct the 2 x 3 factorial design, two individual Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were utilized to compare the mean vectors of the eight participation motives. The Wilks’ Lambda value for gender was not significant (p > .05) which revealed that the participation motives for men and women were similar. The means and standard deviations of the eight participation motives for men and women are listed in Table 1.
The Wilks’ Lambda value for the age group was significant (p < .05). The discriminant functions obtained for the eight participation motives were significant.
Moreover, the oldest age group had significantly higher scores on skill development F(2, 157) = 3.4, p =.036; achievement/ status F(2, 157) =11.12, p =.000; team atmosphere F(2, 157) =9.18, p = .000; fitness F(2, 157) = 8.81, p = .000; energy release F(2, 157) =10.97, p = .000; skill development F(2, 157) =6.54, p = .002; affiliation/friendship F(2, 157) = 13.31, p = .000 and miscellaneous F(2, 157) = 9.68, p = .000. Post Hoc Tukey Tests were utilized and the results reported that the participants aged over 50 years had significantly higher scores than the participants aged 30 to 39 years for the seven participation motives except skill development. They also had significantly higher scores than the participants aged 40 to 49 years for seven participation motives except fun. The participation motives for the 30 to 39 age group and the 40 to 49 age group were similar. The means and standard deviations of the eight participation motives for three age groups are listed in Table 2.
There were 33 participants took part in this event for the first time and 127 of them had participated in this event before. The Wilks’ Lambda value for experience was not significant (p > .05) revealed that the participation motives for participants with different levels of experience in the Master Game were similar
There were 13 items in the Task and Ego Orientations in Sport Questionnaire and the top three goal orientation statements were “do my very best”; “something I learn makes me want to go and practice more”; and “work really hard”. Details are listed in tabled 3. The goal orientations of all participants in the Master Games was task orientation (M=4.02, SD = 0.51) rather than ego orientation (M=3.43, SD = 0.75).
The Wilks’ Lambda value for gender was not significant (p > .05) which revealed that the goal orientation scores for men and women were similar and the means and standard deviations of the eight participation motives for men and women are listed in Table 4.
The Wilks’ Lambda value for the age group was significant (p < .05). The discriminant functions obtained for both ego and task orientations were significant.
Ego orientation, F(2, 157) = 4.09, p = .019; Task orientation, F(2, 157) =3.34, p = .038. The Tukey tests indicated that the oldest participants (aged over 50 years) had significantly higher mean ego orientation score than the youngest participants (aged 30-39 years). They also had significantly higher mean task orientation score than the 40-49 years old group.
The Wilks’ Lambda value for the experience group was significant (p < .05). The discriminant functions obtained for ego orientation was significant, F(1, 158) =14.08, p = .000. The means and standard deviations of the ego orientation score for the no experience group was M = 3.00, SD = .71; and the previous experience group was M = 3.54, SD =.73. The task orientation score for participants without and with previous experience was similar.
This study is concerned with participation motives and goal orientations of individuals participating in the Master Games. After comparing the eight dimensions of participation motives, fun and affiliation/friendship are the most influential motivators that encouraged individuals to take part in the Master Games. For the goal orientations of sport participation, most participants take part in physical activities to meet their task orientation needs.
This study supported previous research that participation motives for men and women were similar and having fun was an important motive (Shapiro, 2003).
The oldest adults (ages over 50 years) had the highest scores on most of the participation motives and they ranked “Affliation/Friendship” , “fun” and “fitness” as the top three motives. This supports previous research which indicated that older adult participated in physical activity for psychological and social purposes (Rudman,1989).
There were significant mean differences on goal orientation scores among the three age groups. Participants with ages above 50 years old had higher scores on ego orientation than participants between the 30 to 39 years old. This situation may be due to the fact that the older participants have more years of experience in the Master Games, thus they had more confidence in their ability as compared with the others.
Furthermore, the result on the task orientation score reflected that all participants would like to master their skill and they believed that success in competition would depend on practicing the skill and their effort. This finding does not support the finding of Steinberg, Grieve and Glass (2002) which stated that the ego orientation score for the over 50 years old male group was lower than the younger groups. This difference could be due to a cultural intervening variable, to be more precise, since Chinese culture assigns greater respect to the “elders” than Western culture, this finding was not unexpected.
Previous participation experience was one of the important factors which determined whether an individual would master a new skill and their attitudes towards the Master Games. The participation motives for people with different previous experience in the Master Games were similar.
For task orientation, no significant difference was found in the participation experience. On the other hand, participants with previous experience have significantly higher scores on the ego orientation than individuals without previous experience. The results supported that participation experience could enhance participants’ confidence in competition and they would like to out perform others. In other words, participation satisfaction socializes the participants into seeking more participation in order to gain more satisfaction and the positive cycle keeps repeating itself and it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In this study, the participation motives and goal orientations of men and women are similar. Older adults have higher mean score on the following seven motivational factors (“Fun”, “Achievement/ Status”, “Team atmosphere’, “Fitness”, “Energy release”, “Affiliation/Friendship” and “Miscellaneous”) than the youngest adults. Fun is an important motive for all participants.
For goal orientations, older participants have higher mean scores on ego orientation. The participation motives and task orientation score for participants with different experience are similar. Participants with previous experience have a higher ego orientation score than those without previous experience.
The application of this study to the world of Masters Sport and “leisure Sports” as well as “Serious Leisure” is very salient. As the Post-Industrial world “ages”, there will be a greater need for “leisure sports” whose main goal is “Health Promotion”.If leisure sports contribute to both a positive ego-enhancing psychological and physical outcome, then this will greatly reduce the pressure on the health care system in post-industrial medically oriented societies. The provision of professionally planned leisure sports for seniors is far more financially economic than the need for more long-term care and pharmaceutical solutions to caring for our aging populations. Greater emphasis needs to be placed in the development of curricula that addresses the growing need to educate future leaders in the delivery of leisure sports ranging from low-intensity activities such as walking, swimming, biking and skiing to more highly organized leisure sports that may be viewed as more “serious” forms of leisure sports (Stebbins, 2007) that require long-term training and professional coaching.
The sample size of the research should be larger, cross-cultural with more qualitative grounded research methods so that the study could be more representative and generalizable. In addition, cross-cultural case studies should be developed to gather more information on participation motives and goal orientations as impacted by different cultural and socialization patterns.
Most Western societies see a significant ageing of their population that will be further accentuated in the coming decades. Future research should carry out cost-benefit analysis of the value of Master Sports and Leisure Sports on reducing the medical costs of an ageing population that can maintain their “independence” as a result of these activities. The ability of older adults to function independently depends largely on maintenance of aerobic capacity and muscle strength. Furthermore some longitudinal studies suggest that physical activity is linked to a reduced risk of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, links between theoretical model building and policy and management strategies need to be nurtured as there presently exists a disconnection between the two. It is recommended that all Masters Games should include a research and evaluation component for the betterment of the games and our ageing society.
Means and Standard Deviations of eight motives for men and women.
|Sources||Men (n = 108)||Women (n = 52)|
|Affiliation / Friendship||4.17||0.63||3.98||0.68|
|Achievement / Status||3.77||0.69||3.54||0.72|
Means and Standard Deviations of eight motives for participants in three age groups.
|Sources||Age 30-39 (n = 32)||Age 40-49 (n = 96)||Age over 50 (n = 32)|
|Affiliation / Friendship||4.15||0.72||3.94||0.61||4.57||0.43|
|Achievement / Status||3.51||0.61||3.60||0.69||4.19||0.61|
Rank Order on goal orientations for participants in the Master Games (N=160).
|1||I do my very best||4.38||0.65|
|2||Something I learn makes me want to go and practice more||4.11||0.62|
|3||I work really hard||4.09||0.72|
|4||A skill I learn really feels right||3.98||0.68|
|5||I learn a new skill by trying hard||3.95||0.74|
|6||I learn something that is fun to do||3.83||0.71|
|7||I learn a new skill and it makes me want to practice more||3.82||0.79|
|8||I’m the best||3.69||1.05|
|9||I score the most points / goals / hits, etc.||3.53||0.88|
|10||I can do better than my friends||3.44||0.95|
|11||Others mess-up “and” I don’t||3.41||0.99|
|12||The others can’t do as well as me||3.33||1.02|
|13||I’m the only one who can do the play or skill||3.16||1.04|
Means and Standard Deviations of goal orientations for men and women.
|Sources||Men (n = 108)||Women (n = 52)|
Means and Standard Deviations of goal orientations for participants in three age groups.
|Sources||Age 30-39 (n = 32)||Age 40-49 (n = 96)||Age over 50 (n = 32)|
Carron, A. (1980). Social psychology of sport. New York: Movement Publications.
Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Special Administration Region. (2010). Hong Kong Population Projections 2010-2039. Retrieved on Aug 5, 2010 from http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/population_and_vital_events/index_cd_B112001504_dt_latest.jsp
Cheung, S.Y. (2009). Healthy Exercise for Longevity Project. Hong Kong: Health Exercise for Longevity Committee. 張小燕 (2009).「健體助延年」計劃 : 長者運動與健康狀況之關係及對香港協辦奧運馬術支持度調查. 「健體助延年」計劃籌備委員會.
Prof. Siu Yin Cheung
Department of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.
Telephone: (852) 3411-5637
Fax: (852) 3411-5757