Motivation for sport participation and withdrawal for Special Olympics athletes in the United States
Harada, Coreen Marie
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to examine the motives for participation in and withdrawal from sport of Special Olympics (SO) athletes using the frameworks of motivation in sport for athletes without disabilities. Two theoretical frameworks were applied--achievement motivation and self-determination theory (SDT). In addition, previous studies on the application of SDT to understanding motivation in people with intellectual disabilities (ID) were examined. This study included a nationally representative sample of 1,307 families, 579 SO athletes, and 300 SO coaches from 17 randomly selected states in the United States. Athletes and families were interviewed by telephone by trained interviewers from The Gallup Organization. Coaches were also interviewed by telephone, by the author and trained graduate students. Interviews followed scripted protocols that included questions about demographics, SO participation, and motivation for sport participation and withdrawal. The findings of this study suggest that there is similarity in motivation for sport participation between athletes with and without ID, as compared to the literature. The findings suggest, contrary to the literature on motivation for people with ID, that athletes with ID can be intrinsically motivated. However, there was a dichotomy of reasons for sport withdrawal. SO athletes generally left sport due to one of two reasons, personal interest in sport or other activities or some factor outside of the athlete's control, namely access to a local SO program. It is critical to note the relevance of the latter reason for sport withdrawal as it underscores a striking difference between athletes without disabilities and athletes with ID. In all, the theoretical frameworks of motivation have demonstrated relevance on the motivation for sport participation and withdrawal for athletes with ID. However, withdrawal due to external factors suggests a limitation in the application of the theoretical frameworks to adequately describe sport withdrawal for athletes with ID. Overall the results of this study emphasize that sport can also be a powerful experience for people with ID and promote an empowering message--that athletes are athletes, regardless of disability.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston UniversityPLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you.