PS286 Textbook Notes Ch. 4
Personality Research in Sport Psychology and Research Targeting Specific Sport
- Personality: pattern of characteristics thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that distinguishes
one person from another and that persists over time and situations.
- Interactional approach: a situational approach to explaining the relationship between
personality traits and the environment. Argues that individuals bring their personality with
them to a given situation. One must consider the individual, the situation, and the
interaction between the individual and the situation.
- Measuring Personality:
Objective personality inventories:
o Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): contains more that
500 items measuring several different aspects of one’s personality
including depression, masculinity-femininity, paranoia, and hysteria.
o Cattell 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire: 187 item instrument assesses
16 different personality trait dichotomies such as humble-assertive,
trusting-suspicious, and relaxed-tense.
o Profile of Mood States (POMS): contains 65 Likert-scale items and
measures six different mood states: tension, depression, anger, vigor,
fatigue, and confusion. A total mood disturbance score can be computed
by summing the tension, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion scores
and then subtracting the vigor score.
Projective personality tests: unstructured, open-ended tests in which the inner
feelings and motives of the subject are revealed.
o Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): presents the test-taker with a series of
ambiguous pictures from which the taker is asked to develop a story.
o Rorschach Inkblot Test: individuals are shown a series of inkblot cards and
asked to describe what they see.
Athletic Motivation Inventory (AMI): consists of 190 items measuring several
personality traits relevant to sport settings including aggressiveness, leadership,
and mental toughness.
o The traits are combined into 3 categories:
Desire to succeed in athletics
Ability to withstand the stress of competition
Dedication to the coach
o Reliability and validity of this instrument is questioned.
- Comparing the Personalities of Athletes and Non-athletes: Athletes may be more stable, extroverted, competitive, dominant, self-confident,
higher self-esteem and achievement oriented.
A composite personality pattern indicative of athletes has yet to be identified.
- The Influence of Athletic Participation on Personality Development:
Attrition model: children not possessing the traits indicative of athletic success
eventually drop out of sport.
Selection model: only those with certain characteristics choose to participate in
Change model: sport participation changes the personalities of participants in
some meaningful way.
- Comparing the Personalities of Athletes Participating in Different Sports:
Participants in individual sports tend to be less anxious and emotional and more
Participants in aggressive sports tend to be more aggressive.
- Comparing the Personalities of Athletes of Different Skill Levels:
Credulous group: believe that personality profiles could be useful in predicting
Skeptical camp: believe that personality data has little or no value in predicting
Iceberg profile: successful athletes often report a more positive mood profile by
scoring lower on tension, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion but higher in
o The differences between the groups is quite small.
o Sport type and event duration may influence the magnitude of the
relationship between mood profiles and athletic performance.
- The Relationship between Personality and Sport Injury Susceptibility:
The personality traits vigor (inverted correlation), tender-mindedness, and being
reserved correlated with the occurrence of athletic injury.
Athletes experiencing high levels of stress are especially likely to report injuries.
Research Investigating Specific Sport Populations:
Female sport fans are assumed to be less knowledgeable tan their male
counterparts. Both male and female subjects believed that the female reporter was less
competent, less informed about sport generally, and less informed about the
specific sport in question than the male reporter.
Title IX: a law prohibiting sexual discrimination in institutions receiving federal
o Directs schools to:
Provide scholarships equal to participation
Have equivalent travel, equipment and medical benefits
Provide recruitment and publicity money
o One difficulty regarding Title IX involves accurately and adequately
defining terms such as equity and equality.
o Positive result of Title IX has been the increase in participation of female
athletes, both at the high school and collegiate levels.
Career opportunities for female professional athletes are still limited. Women
coaches and athletes have yet to receive equal salaries.
The number of females in decision-making positions in academic settings is quite
low, resulting in the inequitable hiring practices.
- Psychological Phenomena Relevant to Female Athletes:
Fear of Success:
o Fear of success: occurs when an individual fears or avoids success in a
given situation because the success would be inconsistent with his or her
More common among women than men.
Success may cause women to feel that they will be rejected
o Roles: social positions governed by many norms.
o Sex roles: (gender roles) are social expectations based on gender.
o Found that female athletes tend not to exhibit fear of success.
Probably indicates that sport is an area in which female success is
o Although female athletes may feel comfortable playing sports such as
tennis and volleyball (sex role consistent sports), they may feel
threatened by sports such as boxing and football that violate their sex role
Psychological Androgyny: o Psychological androgyny: a personality trait in which an individual
possesses nearly equal levels of both masculine and feminine qualities.
o Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI): contains 60 Likert-scale items, 20 each
measuring feminine, masculine, and neutral items. Subjects are classified
as masculine, feminine, androgynous or undifferentiated.
o Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ): 15 item used to classify
individuals as masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated.
o LeUnes and Nation found that female athletes tend not to express a
feminine sex role orientation. The sex role orientation of female athletes
was more often masculine or androgynous than it was feminine or
Personality Research in Female Athletes:
o Personality data on this population is limited by two factors:
Research on personality in sport has been plagued by
Little interest in the personality testing of female athletes
o Many findings indicate that female athletes possess a stable personality
Compared with non-female athletes, female participants tend to be
less angry, confused, depressed and neurotic.
o Elite female athletes can be high in need for achievement and autonomy
and display assertiveness, aggression, and dominance.
Female athletes tend to exhibit traits that are more similar to male
athletes and non-athletes than to female non-athletes.
- The Differential Media Coverage of Female Athletics:
There is unequal and inequitable coverage of women’s athletics in several sources
including newspapers magazines, television, and sport psychology journals.
Lack of coverage may lead women to believe that sport should remain male-
dominated, and decreases the young player’s opportunities to identify with
o Only 8.9% of sports articles devoted solely to female subjects.
o Male athletes received over twice the written coverage and almost twice
the pictorial coverage of female athletes.
o 91.8% of the articles were authored by males o 90.8% of the articles covered male athletics
o Articles covering male athletics were longer than those covering female
o Female athletics receives relatively little television coverage –only 5%.
o Media attention female athletes do receive is often presented in a sexist
fashion and often contains homophobic overtones.
o Emphasized the athletes’ appearances rather than their performances.
o Sexist language common.
Sport Psychology and Sport Sociology Research: