21st Century Sport: Microsystem or Macrosystem?

Authors: Dean Culpepper & Lorraine Killion

Corresponding Author:
Dean Culpepper, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 3011
Commerce, TX 75429
dean.culpepper@tamuc.edu
903.886.5573

Dean Culpepper is an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce in the Health and Human Performance Department and Lorraine Killion is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville in the Health and Physical Education Department. Both are active as Sport Psychology Consultants working with elite athletes and teams to increase human performance.

21st Century Sport: Microsystem or Macrosystem?

ABSTRACT
The culture of sport is well defined, and its impact on individuals and cultures can be studied by using an Ecological Systems Theory (ES) approach. ES was developed by Uri Bronfenbrenner to name how particular contexts and their processes overlap, influence, and are influenced by individual members (3, 4, 5). Sport has traditionally been viewed as a microsystem in ES. Sport and the structure of sport have taken on a new character with self-perpetuating motivations and thus may no longer be set apart (16) for individuals live in Sport all the time. The purpose of this research was to examine moral reasoning across groups and settings to support the shift from sport as set aside to an all-pervasive environment. 315 subjects completed a demographic form, the Hahm-Beller Values Choice Inventory, and the DIT-2. Qualitative follow-up interviews were then conducted among groups to determine themes. A MANOVA (Wilks’ Lambda=.430, p< .005) was carried out with Scheffé post hoc tests to determine differences. Athletes scored lowest (p<.001) and when athletes were removed from the evaluation, Sport Science majors scored equivalently (p<.001) to athletes regarding lower moral reasoning scores. Qualitative interviews revealed that athletes and Sport Science majors spent similar amounts of time thinking, watching, reading, exercising, and discussing sport. These findings may suggest that those involved in sport (whether participating or studying) are operating in a milieu differently from those who are not. They are functioning in an all-pervasive structure or meaning-making system that does shape and has formed how they reason morally. Thus separating oneself from the structure of sport may be difficult. Continue reading