Athletics as a Predictor of Self-esteem and Approval Motivation


Past research has found a negative correlation between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation (Larsen, Martin, Ettinger, & Nelson, 1976). This relationship has not been explored specifically for individuals who participate in athletics. The purpose of this study was to compare athletes and non-athletes on their levels of self-esteem and approval motivation, and to determine if a positive correlation exists for athletes in contrast to the negative correlation found in the general college population. A significant difference was found between athletes and non-athletes in their levels of self-esteem and approval motivation.

Previous research has been conducted in order to identify and explore personal attributes which are associated with participation in sports. There has been a significant relationship found between athletics and the attribute of self-esteem (Kumar, Pathak, & Thakur, 1985). Studies based on the general population suggest a significant negative relationship between self-esteem and an attribute known as approval motivation. Self-esteem is defined as, “an intrapsychic structure: an attitude about the self” (Baumeister, Tice, & Hutton, 1989, p. 547). Coopersmith (1967) defined self-esteem as “the evaluation which the individual makes and customarily maintains with regard to himself” (p. 4-5). Kawash and Scherf (1975) asserted that, “there is probably no personality trait more significant in the context of total psychological functioning than self-esteem” (p. 715). Approval motivation is defined as the desire to produce positive perceptions in others and the incentive to acquire the approval of others as well as the desire to avoid disapproval (Martin, 1984; Shulman & Silverman, 1974).

Geen (1991) listed three conditions that he felt must be met before he considered approval motivation to have occurred. First, an individual must be in direct contact with a person or a group of people, such as an audience or a partner or partners in interaction. Next, the social presence has a nondirective effect. This means that the social group does not provide direct cues on how the person should act in the situation. Finally, the socially generated effect on the individual is considered an intrapsychic state, and this state is capable of initiating and/or intensify behavior.

Research has shown that an individual’s level of approval motivation can be used to predict how he or she will react to expectations or influences of others. Smith and Flenning (1971) conducted a study that investigated the connection between subjects’ need for approval and their susceptibility to subtle unintended influence of biased experimenters. They found that individuals with a high need for approval altered their behavior in the direction of the experimenter’s expectancy, while those in the low approval motivation group did not. Past research has also found a negative correlation to exist between self-esteem and approval motivation (Larsen, Martin, Ettinger, & Nelson, 1976). This indicates that as an individual’s level of self-esteem increases, their need for approval from others decreases. There is no research at this time that has examined the relationship of athletic participation on the negative correlation between self-esteem and approval motivation or on approval motivation alone. However, research has examined the affect of athletic participation and coaching style on self-esteem.

Taylor (1995) conducted a study where he compared athletic participants and nonparticipants in order to ascertain if participating in intercollegiate athletics had an effect on self-esteem. He reported that athletic participation did have a positive effect on self-esteem, but it was not strong enough to have a statistically significant effect on its own. Kumar, Pathak and Thakur (1985) compared individual athletes, team athletes, and non-athletes on their levels of self-esteem using the Self-esteem Inventory (Prasad & Thakur, 1977). The Self-esteem Inventory (Prasad & Thakur, 1977) had two subscales: the personally perceived self, and the socially perceived self. They found that individual athletes were significantly higher on personally perceived self and socially perceived self than team athletes and non-athletes.

Research examining coaching behaviors has found that a coach’s instructional style can have an impact on individual’s with low self-esteem. Smoll, Smith, Barnett, and Everett (1993) examined the effect of coach’s instructional style on self-esteem. Eighteen male head coaches and 152 male Little League Baseball players were studied with 8 of the head coaches participating in a workshop that was designed to increase their supportiveness and instructional effectiveness. A preseason measure of self-esteem of the 152 players who played under the 18 coaches was taken. Post-season measures of the players’ self-esteem were assessed and compared to their preseason score. It was found that players who scored low on self-esteem in the preseason assessment showed a significant increase in their general self-esteem scores in the postseason assessment.

There has been no research conducted at this time that has examined the variable of approval motivation among athletes. However, research investigating other aspects of athletic participation suggests a need for approval among athletes. For example, research in conformity has found that rookies and newcomers to teams quickly learn and adopt attitudes and behaviors of veteran players and team leaders. This influence can be found to affect the athletes’ beliefs and behaviors in both athletic and non-athletic situations (Carron, 1980). Also, Harris (1973) examined the motivational factors related to athletic participation and concluded that motivational forces such as love, social approval, status, security and achievement are basic components to the overall motivational structure which would encourage someone toward athletic participation. Finally, additional research conducted by Smith (1990) indicated that some athletes continue to participate in sports although they do not want to in order to avoid letting down coaches or family members (as cited in Thorton, 1990).

The purpose of this study was to compare athletes and non-athletes on levels of self-esteem and approval motivation. The researchers proposed the following hypothesis. First, there would be a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes in levels of self-esteem and approval motivation. Second, for non-athletes, as supported by past research, there would be a negative correlation between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation. Finally, for athletes, the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation would be positively correlated.

Four hundred ninety-two undergraduate students over the age of 18 attending core courses at a small southern university volunteered to participate in this study. There were 94 athletes and 398 non-athletes with the participant’s ages ranging from 18 years to 49 years, with a mean age of 21.95 years. Participants were provided with a description of the project and inform consent forms¬†prior to receiving the questionnaire.

After returning the signed informed consent forms, participants were given a questionnaire that contained a demographics sheet, Revised Martin-Larsen Approval Motivation Scale (MLAM) (Martin, 1984), and the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale (RSS) (Rosenberg, 1989). The MLAM is a questionnaire consisting of 20 statements designed on a five point Likert-type scale. This instrument measures an individuals level of approval motivation “by assessing both the desire to receive positive evaluations and social reinforcements and avoid negative evaluations and social punishment” (Martin, 1984, p.509). The MLAM has a total range of summative scores from 20 to 100 and a total range of mean scores from one to five. Higher scores indicate a greater need for social approval while lower scores indicate a lower need for approval. This scale has stability coefficients ranging from .73 to .93, and a reliability coefficient of .79.

The RSS is a ten item Guttman scale designed to measure an individuals level of self-esteem. It is unidimensional, which means that individuals may be ranked along a single continuum from very low to very high. Scores range from 10 to 40 with higher scores indicating a higher level of self-esteem and lower scores indicating a lower level of self-esteem. This measure has been found to have a test-retest reliability of .85 (Rosenberg, 1989).

The survey required approximately 35 to 40 minutes to take and participants were allowed to withdraw at any time without penalty. Participants did not place their names on the answer sheet and their signed informed consents were kept separate from their answer sheets to insure anonymity. All participants were treated according to the ethical guidelines concerning research set forth by the American Psychological Association.

The data was analyzed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to determine if there was a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation. The MANOVA revealed that there was a significant main effect found between the two groups (see Table 1). The results of the MANOVA also revealed that there were no interaction effects between the two groups. This supported the first hypothesis that there was a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation.

Table 1
Degrees of Freedom, F Values, and Levels of Significance for Self-esteem and Approval Motivation
df F Sig.
Self-esteem 1 21.8685 .0001
Approval motivation 1 4.2735 .0392

A Pearson r correlation was computed to examine the nature of the relationship between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation for both the athlete and non-athlete groups. For non-athletes, a negative correlation was found to exist between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation (r = -.4503, p< .001). This finding is consistent with the findings of past research that examined the relationship between self-esteem and approval motivation in the general population (Larsen, Martin, Ettinger, & Nelson, 1976). The second hypothesis of this study was supported.

A negative correlation was found to exist between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation for the group consisting of college athletes (r = -.4534, p< .001). Resulting in the rejection of hypothesis three. This finding suggests that athletes, like non-athletes, exhibit a negative correlation between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation.

The findings of this study suggest that there is a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation. These findings mirror those of Kumar, Pathak, and Thakur (1985) who found that athletes have higher levels of self-esteem than non-athletes. In this study, a portion of the subjects were Division I college aged athletes. There are several factors that may have contributed to these athletes having higher self-esteem than non-athletes, such as receiving special treatment. For example, many of these athletes may have received scholarships to college for their athletic skills, been allowed to travel to other schools to compete, and had access to uniforms and other athletic wear that served to set them apart from their non-athletic peers. In addition, these athletes may have received special attention from the press and fans, and received certain rewards that non-athletes have not received. Further, athletes have the unique opportunity to develop close friendships with team members and identify with the team itself.

Results of the current study indicate that there is a statistically significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variable of approval motivation. However, despite being statistically significant there is some question as to whether these findings have everyday applicability (see Table 2). Further research is needed to determine if there is a true behavioral difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variable approval motivation, and if so what aspect of athletic participation is responsible for this difference.

Table 2
Means and Standard Deviations for Athletes and Non-Athletes
on the Variables of Self-esteem and Approval Motivation
Mean Standard Deviation
Self-esteem Approval Motivation Self-esteem Approval Motivation
Athletes 34.1064 2.5840 4.6315 .4373
Non-athletes 31.3668 2.7045 5.2139 .5234

There are a number of possible reasons why the need for athletes to receive praise or to avoid the rejection of others, is met through sport participation. Athletes, especially at the collegiate level, receive many benefits from participating in sports. For example, athletes receive praise and support from their parents, peers, coaches, fans, and community. In addition, personal rewards are obtained through the athlete’s athletic prowess and identity with the team. Many of the athletes competing at the Division I collegiate level bring with them to college successful high school experiences in athletics. Therefore, athletes in this study may have received approval for a number of years through athletic participation. Due to the history of approval and reward associated with athletic participation, athletes may not need to engage in further approval seeking behaviors.

It should be noted that the athletes in this study are most likely the elite athletes from their high school programs. They are good at what they do and have excelled in athletics for many years. Therefore, the athletes in this study due to their history of athletic success, may be more likely to participate in Division I athletics. Athletes with low self-esteem and high needs for approval may not be as likely to reach Division I college athletics. Future research may wish to examine approval motivation and self-esteem in youth sports and high school athletics to determine if there is consistency of findings.

As predicted, there was a negative correlation found between self-esteem and approval motivation for non-athletes. This finding was consistent with those of Larsen, Martin, Ettinger, & Nelson (1976) who also examined the relationship between approval motivation and self-esteem in the general population. However, what was not predicted was the negative correlation that was found between the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation for the group of collegiate athletes. Although there was a significant difference between athletes and non-athletes on their levels of approval motivation, these results imply that athletic participation does not alter the negative relationship between self-esteem and approval motivation. The results of this study suggest that athletes are more likely to view themselves positively and see themselves as worthy and are less likely to engage in approval seeking behavior than non-athletes.

The findings of this study lead to several additional questions concerning the difference between athletes and non-athletes on the variables of self-esteem and approval motivation. Future research may wish to explore factors that contribute to the differences found in self-esteem and approval motivation for athletes, such as the number of years experience, ethnicity, gender, and types of athletic experience.

Baumeister, R.F., Tice, D.M., & Hutton, D.G. (1989). Self-presentational motivations and personality differences in self-esteem. Journal of Personality, 57, 547-579.

Carron, A.V. (1980). Social psychology of sport. Ithaca: Mouvement Publications.

Coopersmith, S. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company.

Geen, R.G. (1991). Social motivation. Annual Review of Psychology, 42, 377-399.

Harris, D.V. (1973). Involvement in sport: A somatopsychic rationale for physical activity. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger.

Kawash, G.F. & Scherf, G.W. (1975). Self-esteem, locus of control, and approval motivation in married couples. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 31, 715-720.

Kumar, A., Pathak, N., & Thakur, G.P. (1985). Self-esteem in individual athletes, team members, and nonathletes. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 61, 178.

Larsen, K.S., Martin, H.J., Ettinger, R.H., & Nelson, J. (1976). Approval seeking, social cost, and aggression: A scale and some dynamics. The Journal of Psychology,94, 3-11.

Martin, H.J. (1984). A revised measure of approval motivation and its relationship to social desirability. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 508-519.

Prasad, M.S. & Thakur, G.P. (1977). Manual and directions for Self-esteem Inventory. Agra: Agra Psychological Research Cell.

Rosenberg, M. (1986). Conceiving the self. Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company

Shulman, A.D. & Silverman, I. (1974). Social desirability and need approval: Some paradoxical data and a conceptual re-evaluation. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13, 27-32.

Smith, R.E. & Flenning, F. (1971). Need for approval and susceptibility to unintended social influence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 36, 383-385.

Smoll, F.L., Smith, R.E., Barnett, N.P., & Everett, J.J. (1993). Enhancement of children’s self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 602-610.

Thornton, J.S. (1990). Playing in pain: When should an athlete stop? The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 18, 139-142.

Taylor, D.L. (1995). A comparison of college athletic participants and nonparticipants on self-esteem. Journal of College Student Developement,36, 444-451.

Music in Sport and Exercise: Theory and Practice

This article has been inspired
by six years of doctoral research in which I found that the “right”
music can have a very positive impact on sport and exercise performance.
I am grateful to the Academy for cultivating my interest in the
area of psychophysical responses to music during my master’s
programme in 1991/92. I am also pleased to be invited to share
my findings with you, the coaches and fitness professionals.

How Does Music Aid Athletic

A review of this area (Karageorghis & Terry, 1997) based
on a meta-analytic study I conducted at the Academy, revealed
four main ways which music may aid performance in sport and exercise.
First, during submaximal repetitive exercise such as running,
music can narrow a performer’s attention and as a consequence,
divert attention away from sensations of fatigue. This is a technique
which many marathon runners and triathletes refer to as dissociation,
i.e., focusing on stimuli unrelated to the task such as the surroundings
or conducting mental arithmetic. Effective dissociation tends
to promote a positive mood state through the avoidance of thoughts
that relate to the fatigue component of mood.

Second, music alters arousal levels and can therefore be used as a form of stimulant prior
to competition or as a sedative to calm over-anxious athletes
(see Karageorghis, Drew, & Terry, 1996). One of the interventions
I often use involves the production of audio cassettes containing
stimulative music combined with verbal suggestions as a psych-up
strategy. Similarly, I use sedative music as a backdrop for relaxation
techniques that are administered via verbal instruction.

Third, music is beneficial
as a result of the similarities between rhythm and human movement;
hence, the synchronization of music with exercise consistently
demonstrates increased levels of work output among exercise participants
(see Karageorghis & Terry, 1997, for review). Fourth, in
relation to the previous point, the rhythmical qualities of music
also emulate patterns of physical skills; therefore, music can
enhance the acquisition of motor skills and create a better learning
environment. There is evidence from both gymnastics and swimming
in support of this (Chen, 1985; Jernberg, 1981).

Selecting the “Right”

Our recent work (Karageorghis, Terry, & Lane, 1997) indicates
that there are four key factors that influence the motivational
qualities of music. First, owing to the fact that people have
an underlying predisposition to react to rhythmical stimuli,
the Rhythmic Response to the music is the most salient factor.
Second, the melodic and harmonic aspects of music shape the listener’s
interpretation and influence mood state. I refer to this factor
as Musicality. Third, the Cultural Impact of music will influence
the listener’s response through socio-cultural upbringing and
previous exposure to music. Fourth, the Association factor which
relates to the extra-musical associations evoked by music, i.e.,
sound can promote sounds that inspire physical activity. The
Rhythmic Response and Musicality factors are internal to the
composition of music, whereas the Cultural Impact and Association
factors are external to the music relating to personal interpretation
of music (see Figure 1). Our research shows that the internal
factors are more important in predicting how a person will respond
to a piece of music than the external factors.

We have developed and validated a questionnaire to rate the motivational qualities of music which
is called the Brunel Music Rating Inventory (BMRI: Karageorghis
et al., 1997). For a piece of music to truly inspire the listener,
it must have strong rhythmic qualities that match the activity
at hand and also a tempo which matches the predicted heart rate.
The melody and harmony of the music should promote a positive
mood state; that is, they should energize the listener and increase
vigor. The music should also stem from the listener’s socio-cultural
background and comply with their preferences. Finally, it is
ideal that for the music to be associated with physical activity
either through the lyrics, e.g., Work Your Body!, or its association
with other media such as film or TV. A classic example of such
a track would be Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, which
was a theme from the Rocky series.

There are three additional
considerations when selecting music: a) Variety in the music
tends to maintain athletes’ interest in the activity; b) the
volume of the music should not be obscured by the noise of the
exercise environment; and c) if synchronizing music with exercise,
the tempo must concur with the preferred work rate. For example,
if you are swimming using the breast stroke at a rate of 100
strokes per minute, it would be sensible to use music playing
at 100 beats per minute (bpm). Alternatively, breast stroking
at a rate of 60 strokes per minute a tempo of 120 bpm can be
used as the swimmer can take one stroke every two beats.

Music and Flow State
Our most recent research (Karageorghis & Terry, 1998) has
revealed an interesting link between music and the attainment
of flow state during aerobic dance exercise. Flow involves an
altered state of awareness during physical activity in which
the mind and body function on “auto-pilot” with minimal
conscious effort. Some coaches refer to this as being “in
the zone”; it is an almost trance-like or hypnotic state.
Flow has been associated with optimal psychological state and
represents complete enjoyment of and immersion in physical activity.
Our study involved 1,231 aerobic dance participants who were
asked to rate the motivational qualities of the music used during
a class on completion of their workout using the BMRI. They also
rated flow using the Flow State Scale, a 36 item questionnaire
developed by Jackson and Marsh (1996). The results revealed a
very significant association between ratings of music and ratings
of flow. We concluded that music may have a considerable effect
on enjoyment levels during exercise an selecting the “right”
music may be a key factor in maintaining adherence to exercise.

Music is an often untapped source of both motivation and inspiration
for sport and exercise participants. One important point to remember
is that musical preference is very personal indeed; that is the
reason for which I have avoided suggesting which music you should
prescribe for your athletes and exercise participants. That is
entirely your decision. However, you should now be aware of some
factors that make listening to music more rewarding in sport
and exercise settings. Happy listening!

Dr. Costas Karageorghis is
a BASES accredited scientific support and research sport and
exercise psychologist. He is a member of the British Olympic
Association Psychology Advisory Group and lectures in sport psychology
at Brunel University’s Department of Sport Sciences. Further,
Dr. Karageorghis is an alumnus of the USSA MSS program and acts
as the United Kingdom academic representative. E-mail:

Satisfaction Levels of Elite Track and Field Athletes in South Korea


The general problem of this study was to examine the level of satisfaction of elite track and field athletes in South Korea with six factors; facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership.

The subjects were 194 track and field athletes who were selected from a 1997 ranking list of the top five athletes in each track and field event. A survey questionnaire was distributed to each subject with a return rate of 80% (N = 168). Statistical analyses were conducted using the SPSS-Window statistical package. Descriptive statistics, independent t-tests, one-way ANOVA and Post Hoc tests were used to analyze the data.

Results of this study indicated there were statistically significant differences among means of the six factors. The results of the post hoc test indicated financial support was significantly lower than facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership. The findings indicated the majority of the track and field athletes were satisfied with all aspects of their facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership. However, athletes were not satisfied with financial support from their club, company or school. Results of this study indicated financial support should be improved for track and field athletes in South Korea.

In spite of its general popularity throughout most of the world, track and field is not a popular sport in South Korea. Since the peak of its popularity in the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the number of track and field athletes has been declining (KAAF, 1997). Many young athletes have been changing to other sports, and recruitment of potential track and field trainees has become difficult (KAAF, 1997). The reasons for this have not been clearly identified. Also, financial support for research and development in track and field is lacking in the R.O.K. In particular, studies relating to the satisfaction levels of the tract and field athletes toward their sport and career, respectively, has been very limited (Lee, 1992).

The general problem of this study was to examine the level of satisfaction of elite track and field athletes in South Korea with facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership.

The subjects in this study were both male and female elite track and field athletes whose performance in 1997 ranked them among the top five as their track and field events in South Korea. The list of these athletes was obtained from the Korean Amateur Athletics Federation (KAAF). Since there were a total of 22 events for men and 20 events for women, the sample included 110 (22X5) males and 100 (20X5) females. Therefore, the sample included a total of 210 athletes. However, taking into consideration that 16 athletes placed in the top five in more than one event, the actual targeted number of potential subjects was 194. Eighty-seven per cent of the subjects (N=168) responded to the questionnaire.

The researcher constructed a survey questionnaire instrument for the subjects to indicate their satisfaction levels. Responses to questions were made on a five point Likert scale and were averaged to yield the overall satisfaction level for each factor.

Statistical Analysis
Descriptive statistics:
frequency, percentage distribution, the mean and standard deviation were used to analyze subjects’ demographic characteristics. One-way ANOVA was conducted to determine if there were statistically significant differences among the means of the athletes’ satisfaction levels. The Student Newman-Keuls method as a post hoc test was conducted to determine specifically athletes’ satisfaction levels. Statistical significance was accepted at p<.05.

Demographic Characteristics of Subjects
Of a total subjects (N=168), 90 (58.3%) were male athletes, and 78 (41.7%) were female athletes. Seventy-two (42.9%) athletes were ages of 18 to 21 and 60 (36.9%) were ages of 22 to 25. Only six athletes (3.6%) were over 30 years old.

One hundred athletes (59.5%) were members of university teams and 56 (33.3%) were members of company or club teams. A few were on high school teams. The classification of the subjects by event shown in Table 1, indicated track (58.9%), field (36.4%), and multiple event athletes (4.7%). The majority of the subjects became track and field athletes through encouragement from their coach or physical education teacher. Most subjects competed for more than five years, but less than 15 years.

Table 1
Classification of the Subjects
Event N %
Track (58.9%)
Sprint 25 14.9
Hurdle 16 9.5
Middle and Long distance 58 34.5
Field (36.4%)
Jumping 31 18.5
Throwing 30 17.9
Decathlon and heptathlon (4.7%) 8 4.7
Total 168 100.0

One hundred twelve athletes (67%) changed their main event more than once during their track and field career. Their reasons for changing were as follows: the opportunity to obtain better results (28.5%), poor record (23.2%) or dislike of their primary event (21.4%). Of those athletes who did change their main event, 90 athletes (80.7%) were satisfied with the results.

Satisfaction Levels
One hundred fourteen athletes (67.8%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their weight training facilities and 98 (58.3%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their track training facilities. For the field training facilities, 94 athletes (56.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied.

Sixty-eight athletes (42.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their training equipment, and 82 (45.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their competition equipment. For personal training items, 66 athletes (39.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied.

Ninety-six athletes (57.1%) indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ personal communication skills, and 92 (54.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ technical skills and knowledge. Eighty-four athletes (50.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ strategy.

Eighty-four athletes (47.6%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ training methods, and 96 (57.1%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ training schedule. Eighty-four athletes (50.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the coaches’ feedback.

One hundred two athletes (62.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ friendliness, and 110 (68.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ ethical conduct. As for the head coaches’ ability to motivate, 102 athletes (62.9%) of the subjects were satisfied or very satisfied.

Only 50 athletes (29.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the financial support they received from their team, club, company or school. Most athletes were not satisfied with the financial support form their team. Many athletes in this study received financial support from their family.

Differences in Athletes’ Satisfaction Levels
The results of the one-way ANOVA revealed there were statistically significant differences among means of the six factors; facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership (Table 2).

The results of the post hoc test indicated financial support was significantly lower than facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership (Table 3).

Table 2
One-way ANOVA for the Satisfaction Factors
Factors DF MS F
Between 5 47.56 *81.82
Within 996 0.58
Total 1001
Table 3
Results of Student Newman-Keuls Post-Hoc Analysis
Factor Facilities Equipment Ability Method Leadership
Financial Support 5.62* 3.20 5.45* 4.43* 5.62*

The results of this study indicated the top South Korean track and field athletes were generally satisfied with facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods and leadership. However, they were not satisfied with their financial support.

Athletes’ satisfaction levels with their financial support from the club, company or institution was relatively low. Because of that, most athletes indicated they are dependant upon financial support from their parents. In this regard, many young athletes have been changing to other sports, and recruitment of potential track and field trainees has become difficult (KAAF, 1997).

In 1997, the Korean Amateur Athletic Federation also established a new policy by which prize money can be given to the athletes who set a new national record, Asian record, world record or who are awarded a medal from world wide competitions (KAAF, 1998). This might be one of the ways to increase motivation and satisfaction for track and field athletes. For an athlete to be satisfied with one’s sport, he or she must have appropriate motivation to participate in the activity (IAAF, 1998).

As a result of this study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Track and field coaches must discern whether the event in which their athletes compete is appropriate. If it is believed to be inappropriate, the athletes must be encouraged to change their event. By doing so, the athletes may obtain better results and thus experience greater satisfaction.
  2. It is desirable to expend more money on providing athletes with quality training equipment needed to increase satisfaction.
  3. It is desirable to develop a financial support plan, if implemented, could increase track and field athletes’ satisfaction and thus result in greater interest in participating in track and field.
  4. A study should be conducted with subjects that are representative of all track and field athletes, as opposed to only elite performers.
  5. The level of athletes’ satisfaction with regard to their room and board should also be identified.
  6. Specific data on the financial support given to teams, as well as allocations given to individual athletes should be analyzed.


Choi, J., Lee, K., & Kim, H. (1995). Comprehension of statistical analysis. Seoul: Jau Academy.

IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation), (1998). Http:// field.html.

IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation), (1998). Http://

Jackson, S. (1996). Toward a conceptual understanding of the flow experience in elite athletes, Journal of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67(1), 76-90.

KAAF (Korean Amateur Athletic Federation), (1988). The Interesting Track and Field, KAAF Press, Seoul. 5-50.

KAAF (Korean Amateur Athletic Federation), (1997). The World of Track and Field, 1, KAAF Press. Seoul.

Kang, S. (1996). Research Methods in Physical Education, 21century Education Press, Seoul, 163-186.

Korea Olympic Committee (KOC), (1997). The training plan for national team in 1998, Department of Athletes Training, Seoul.

Lee, K. (1992). The Theory and Performances of Sport, Jiam-Sa, Seoul, 429-598.

You Go Girl ! The Link Between Girls’ Positive Self-Esteem and Sports

Positive self-esteem is a favorable perception of one’s self, or, how happy you are with just being you. In general, feelings of self-esteem contribute to a person’s self-worth, confidence and competence. These feelings of worthiness, assurance and proficiency can influence a person’s life in regard to personal aspirations, motivation, achievement potential and relationships (Melpomene Institute, 1996). A person’s self-esteem is affected by and formed from a variety of circumstances in life, some of which are:

  • degree of parental expectations, encouragement and influence
  • degree of peer expectations, encouragement and influence
  • involvement in making of decisions
  • development of talents, hobbies or interests
  • influence and importance of role models
  • extent of emphasis on body image
  • experiences and interactions during education
  • participation in physical activity and/or sports (Kopecky, 1992)


Many studies have been done to investigate the self-esteem of young girls and have concluded that as girls move from grade school to high school, their self-esteem levels drop (Feldman & Elliott, 1990; Gilligan, Lyons & Hammer, 1990; How Schools Shortchange Girls, 1992). For example, one study found that 69% of grade school boys and 60% of grade school girls responded that they were “happy the way I am”. The same study found 46% of high school boys and only 29% of high schools girls reported being “happy the way I am”. Overall, girls self-esteem dropped at a rate three times that of boys. Feelings of low self-esteem in adolescence are one contributing factor that increases the likelihood of a young girl dropping out of school or becoming pregnant. The low self-esteem seen in girls does not disappear with maturity; girls with low self-esteem often grow to be women with low self-esteem. Low levels of self-esteem are linked to increased rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide and eating disorders in both adolescents and adults (How Schools Shortchange Girls, 1992; Melpomene Institute, 1996).

What can be done about the decrease in self-esteem? What can girls do to maintain their self-esteem as they mature? To answer these questions, it is important to look at what boys are doing differently from girls as both groups move from grade school to high school. One important difference to consider is the rate of sports participation among boys and girls. As girls move from grade school to high school, they drop-out of sports at a rate six times higher than boys (Women’s Sports Foundation, 1998). Could the lower rate of sports participation among girls be linked to a lower self-esteem? In order to answer the question, it is essential to consider two factors: what contributes to the development of self-esteem and the benefits of sport participation.

For girls living in the 1990s, self-esteem is linked to both physical attractiveness and physical competence. Prior to the 1990s, however, the main factor contributing to a girls’ self-esteem was physical attractiveness (Nelson, 1994). Coupling self-esteem to both competence and beauty is a step in the right direction, although it’s still unfortunate that girls place so much importance on physical attractiveness as it relates to their happiness. Recognizing that young girls often compare themselves to unrealistic standards of beauty can help parents better understand, guide and influence their children (Nelson, 1994; Women’s Sports Foundation, 1998). In attempting to de-emphasize the importance their daughters place on beauty and emphasize the importance of physical competence, parents may find it helpful to utilize the benefits of participation in sport.

Participating in sport is one way that girls can develop physical competence. Girls learn to appreciate their bodies for what they can do, instead of the perceived appearance by oneself or by others. In a sport environment girls learn to control their bodies and to rely on acquired physical skills. Partaking in sport also helps girls trust and rely on themselves and teammates while working toward common goals. In a sense, participation in sport allows each girl to become her own personal cheerleader – cheering on her physical self and what might be possible; not just standing on the sidelines, or in the bleachers, cheering others on (Nelson, 1994). Involvement in athletics provides lessons in teamwork and leadership, the development of citizenship, and community involvement. Membership in sport also offers girls a greater pool of adult role models from where they can draw guidance and support (Melpomene Institute, 1996; Murtaugh, 1988). Additionally, girls find new friends in the sport setting. For girls, this sense of friendship is essential, being liked by other girls is sometimes more important than having others see them as smart or independent (Feldman & Elliott, 1990).


A study published by the Women’s Sport Foundation on over 30,000 girls compared athletes to non-athletes.

The study stated that athletes were more likely than non-athletes to:

  • score well on achievement tests
  • feel “popular” among one’s peers
  • be involved in other extracurricular activities
  • graduate from high school (three times more likely)
  • attend college and obtain a bachelor’s degree
  • stay involved in sport as an adult
  • aspire to community involvement
  • not become involved with drugs (92% less likely)
  • not become pregnant (80% less likely)

(Women’s Sports Foundation, 1998).


It is important that parents realize the many contributions participation in sport can make to young girls’ development. The positive aspects of sport can help girls maintain their self-esteem as they make the difficult transition from grade school to high school.


Feldman, S. & Elliott, G. (Eds.). (1990). At the threshold: the developing adolescent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gilligan, C., Lyons, L., & Hammer, T. (Eds.). (1990). Making connections: The relational worlds of adolescent girls at Emma Willard School. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

How Schools Shortchange Girls – The AAUW Report. (1992). New York, NY: Marlowe & Company.

Kopecky, G. (1992). The age of self-doubt. Working Mother, July, 46-49.

Murtaugh, M. (1988). Achievement outside the classroom: The role of nonacademic activities in the lives of high school students. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 19, 383-395.

Melpomene Institute. (1996). Melpomene Institute packet -Girls, physical activity and self-esteem. St. Paul, MN.

Nelson, M.B. (1994). The stronger women get, the more men love football – sexism and the American culture of sports. New York, New York: Avon Books.

Women’s Sports Foundation. (1998). Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, New York.

Analysis of Selected Physical and Performance Attributes of the United States Olympic Team Handball Players: Preliminary Study

During the Spring of 1995, prior to the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the United States Team Handball team and coaches came to the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, AL for testing. Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, president of the U.S. Team Handball Federation, and the president of the United States Sports Academy hosted the testing at the Alabama campus. Testing of the athletes consisted of laboratory tests of maximum oxygen uptake, computerized strength measures, blood tests, etc., and a battery of field tests that included assessments of physical characteristics, and physical performance components. This paper reports the results of the field test battery.
Skills test batteries have been used in physical education and in sport to assess various components of the skills of players. These assessments served the teacher and coach to determine a player’s level of ability, or their progress, weaknesses and strengths. These test batteries for sports performance usually dealt with the physical fitness components like strength and endurance, or the motor skills components, like speed, agility, power, or accuracy.

Batteries of tests for team handball have not been developed in the United States. The purpose of this investigation was to construct a team handball test battery that would be reflective of the skills, abilities, physical fitness components and anthropometric factors that contribute to high levels of performance, and to establish a database of performances by the National Team Handball players. Additional purposes for developing the test included using the test to screen potential players at the National level, to provide teachers in the schools and colleges with tests that are inexpensive and easy to administer, and to provide self-administered tests that would train the athletes to improve their performance in team handball.

The United States National Handball team came to the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama for testing in June of 1995 prior to the Atlanta Olympic Games. There were 20 players in attendance. Their ages ranged from 22.01 to 31.73 years with an average age of 26.69 years (sd = 2.94).

Test Selection and Procedures
The coaches and this investigator discussed the test items and agreed that they were relevant to the sport. The test items included:

  1. Anthropometric measurements: height, weight, hand breadth, arm length, and arm span
  2. Hand grip strength
  3. Running speed: 20 m dash
  4. Vertical jump: take-off of dominant leg with one step, non-dominant leg with one step, and both legs
  5. Accuracy throw: a 7 m throw at a automobile tire hanging vertically from the goal. 2 points for shots through the center, 1 point for hitting the tire but not passing through the center. The player had 10 throws.
  6. 50 m dribble test: Five cones are placed in a straight line with 5m between each cone. Player runs 25m, passing each cone alternately on the right and left sides, then goes completely around the last cone and returns to the start line alternating as before. The ball is dribbled once per cone.
  7. Jump and throw test: A volleyball net 2.44 m high placed 7 m from the goal with a tire hanging vertically from the top of the goal. The bottom of the tire rested on the floor. The player had 10 throws. Two points were awarded for hitting the tire or passing through the center and 1 point for passing through the goal mouth.
  8. Endurance test: Four tires are placed on the corners of a basketball court that has the dimensions of 15.24 m by 25.61 m. The player runs diagonally on the first leg, then along the short side, then diagonally again, and then returns to the start. This constitutes one lap. The runner runs 10 laps for a total of 900m; 90 m per lap.

The results of the anthropometric testing are shown in table 1. The data for the skills tests are shown in tables 2 and 3. The mean vertical jump for the dominant leg was 54.03 cm (21.27 in), the non-dominant leg was 46.72 cm (18.39 in), and for both legs was 62.15 cm (24.47 in). This is higher than vertical jumps of 52.8 cm (20.8 in) for professional soccer players (Raven, Gettman, Pollock, & Cooper, 1976), 53.3 cm (21 in) for college basketball players (Noble & Maresh, 1979), but less than 67.0 cm (26.4) for elite men volleyball players (Gladden & Colaccino, 1978). Olympic men’s volleyball players were tested doing the vertical jump with a 4-step approach, as in a spike approach and averaged 94.2 cm (37.1 in). This approach run was estimated to add 10.2 to 15.4 cm (4 to 6 in) higher than the standing position vertical jump off of both legs (McGown et al., 1990). The maximum height reached when the player took off from the dominant leg was 3 m (9 feet, 10.1 in), the non-dominant leg was 2.92 m (9 feet, 7 in), and both legs was 3.08 m (10 feet, 1.26 in).