Motivation for young people to participate in sport activities

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There have been increasing investigation and empirical support for the various reasons and associations of youth participation into sport activity in recent years (Klint & Weiserl986; Clough & Maughan 1989; Linder 1995a). Studies have shown that participants have multiple motives (Wankel 1980; Gould & Petlichkoff 1988). The purpose of this study was to explore sport participation motives among age, sex and student groups. A questionnaire measures the general motives for youth participating in sport activity. Eighty-six students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong were divided into two groups, i.e. male (n=45) and female (n=41), or the students in the Department of Sports Science & Physical Education or not. The age group was sub-divided into 2 groups: 17-23 & 24-30. A pilot study (r=.92) was initiated. The criterion variable refers to the sport participation motives in which seven dimensions are included as follows: competence, fitness, well-being, affiliation, excitement, success and social support. Data was computed with a statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS). Multiple linear regression test was used to analyze if there was any prediction with high sport participation motives and examine the most influential predictor among the groups. T-tests was used to analyze the significant differences between each group. From the results, the motives of fitness (Overall Means 13.41, SD 2.84), well-being (Overall Means 13.01, SD 2.97) & excitement (Overall Means 12.72, SD 3.08) rank as the most important reasons for sport participation. It is consistent with the studies (Clough & Maughan 1989; Longhurst & Spink 1987) which have shown the major motives for sport involvement are excitement, challenge, fitness & affiliation. A series of T-tests have shown that the most motives can reflect a marked difference (5% level of significance) between the PE students & non-PE students (competence p=.000, well-being p=.017, affiliation p=.000, excitement p=.000, success p=.000, social support p=.000), thereby representing a trend. It is apparent to reject the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference in sport participation motives between student group. There is significant difference in the most of dimensions between age group (fitness p=.035, well-being p=.003, affiliation p=.003, excitement p=.()05, success p=.015, social support p=.036) and only significant difference in the dimension of social support (p=.040) for sex difference. It is consistent with the studies of Brown & his colleagues (1985) that the peer group was an important factors in female swimmers' sport participation. It is strong in predictability power (r=.526). R-square ( r2) is .28 (28%) and the variance in error is 72%. The F of 10.475 with significant level .000 indicated a statistically significant level of prediction. In the stepwise multiple regression, the student group was specified in predicting sport participation motives. A high correlation was found (.522) between the independent variable 'student' and the criterion variable 'motives' in the stepwise regression. It is indicated as the most influential predictor among the groups. The r- square is .272 (i.e. 27%) and the variance of error is 73%. In conclusion, the major dimensional motives for youth sport participation in the study are rated as fitness, well- being & excitement, thereby supporting the findings of numerous researchers (Duda 1987; Clough & Maughan 1989). A significant difference exists between age and student groups in different sport involvement motives. The predictability power is of considerable strong among the groups. The student group can be apparently specified in predicting sport participation motives. Due to the limitation of the sample (86 cases), it seems that it is inappropriate to measure for the multiple linear regression. However, the results could be found to reflect the significant level and measure the aptness of the model. It is also concerned that future increasing the proportion of active participants need to encourage for habitual physical activity and to develop new and more appropriately activities. Weinberg & Gould (1995) suggests that personal and situational factors are of significant important for participant motivation. Whether an individual' s sport participation is dependent on personal and situational dispositions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996


social support
age group
youth sports
sports science
peer group
physical education
Hong Kong
social science


Tsui, K. Y. A. (1996, November). Motivation for young people to participate in sport activities. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.