Sport motivation and personality traits in NCCA Division I student-athletes
Brannon, Drew Reinhart
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Motivation, which involves prompting movement, is recognized as a critical issue in the field of psychology because it is a chief concern for those in roles that consist of mobilizing others to act. The breadth of the motivation research is staggering, as some individuals have estimated that one-third of all studies in psychology deal with motivation in some manner (Roberts, 1992). Many of these studies have been conducted in the sub-discipline of sport and exercise psychology, in part because motivation is thought to be the “foundation of sport performance and achievement” (Duda & Treasure, 2001). These studies have sought to establish a better understanding of methods that might create environments that could enhance athlete motivation, thus creating improved training and performance. The present study surveyed the forms and levels of sport motivation in a sample of NCAA Division I student-athletes, while also considering the possible role of personality as a significant predictor in motivation. Similar research has been conducted in the area of academic motivation in undergraduate students (Komarraju & Karau, 2005). The study utilized a sample of 144 NCAA Division I student-athletes at a large university in the southeastern United States and took a critical focus on the construct of amotivation, which is defined as a complete lack of motivation in which behaviors are carried out for neither intrinsic, nor extrinsic reasons. Those who are amotivated lack purpose or expectation in their participation of tasks (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Results indicated that the personality traits of anxiety (p < .000), achievement-striving (p = .005), and assertiveness (p = .043) (as measured by the NEO PI-R) were all significant predictors of amotivation. Also, a one-way ANOVA of sport played and amotivation yielded significant mean differences. Although additional research must be conducted to solidify these findings, the yielded data could, ultimately, prove noteworthy for mental health professionals working to improve and maintain collegiate student-athlete well-being.