Exploring Athlete Proneness to Shame when Partaking in Sport and its Relationship with Achievement Goal Perspective Theory: Creating and Validating the Shame in Sport Questionnaire
Fontana, Mario Sean
University of Kansas
Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences
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Understanding shame and its effects on the human psyche has been critical to understanding how crippling it can be to long-term health (Tangney & Dearing, 2002). However, research exploring shame in sport has been limited, particularly as it pertains to why athletes may experience shame when participating. Research is needed to better understand the various reasons why athletes may experience shame when partaking in sport. The first study created and validated the Shame in Sport Questionnaire (SSQ). The SSQ was vetted and validated via exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis in a sample of 216 high school wrestlers. A two-factor shame model featuring process shame (experiencing shame based on failing to give high effort or be appropriately prepared) and process shame (experiencing shame based on losing or failing to preform well) was confirmed. The scale was further validated using Nicholls’ (1989) Achievement Goal Perspective Theory (AGPT). It was discovered that task-oriented athletes were more likely to experience process shame and less likely to experience result shame. Conversely, it was found that ego-oriented athletes were more likely to experience result shame and less likely to experience process shame. These results further emphasize research that suggests being high in task-orientation is more beneficial than being high in ego-orientation (Roberts & Treasure, 2012). The second study further explored and validated the SSQ with a population of 259 high school track and field athletes. The population was surveyed on their perceptions of the motivational climate (Nicholls, 1989; Newton et al., 2007) and how they relate to process and result shame. The results revealed that athletes perceiving a caring and task-involving motivational climate were more likely to experience process shame and less likely to experience result shame. Additionally, athletes perceiving a perceived ego-involving motivational climate were more likely to experience result shame and less likely to experience process shame. These data suggest that athletes partaking in sport in an environment where they are valued and where effort and improvement are emphasized would limit proneness to shame, while a sport environment that focuses on winning and normative comparison would enhance proneness to shame.
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