What motivates females to participate in collegiate level sports?

Laura Abril Pacheco, University of Texas at El Paso


Despite the many health benefits, physical activity trends in females have been previously reported to be lower than males. The purpose of this study is to explore the motivational influences that engage college females to participate in sports. This was a cross sectional, causal-comparative survey study that included mixed methods of data collection. 82 female college athletes from two post-secondary institutions responded to a 35 item Modified Sports Motivation Survey and 7 participants volunteered to be in a focus group discussion. Motivational factors examined were fitness, skill/mastery, fun/excitement, affiliation/recognition, team factors, ego/competition, parental support, and external rewards. Quantitative analysis revealed that all components were important to participants with fitness, fun/excitement, and ego/competition being the most important. Qualitative analysis supported the survey responses and revealed two new motivational influences, success and independence/responsibility. Findings were justified through social-ecological perspective, self-determination theory, and reciprocal determinism. This research represented one of the most comprehensive to date studies to look into the multifaceted and complex interactions of motivational factors that influence collegiate sports participation, yet future research regarding this topic is needed to better understand the adherence to physical activity into adulthood.

Subject Area

Environmental Law|Womens studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Pacheco, Laura Abril, "What motivates females to participate in collegiate level sports?" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1494369.