Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Brian L. Pritschet


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a difference in goal orientation among athletes across gender and levels of competition. A second purpose was to determine if perceived motivational climate was correlated with the type of goal orientation that basketball players of both gender and different levels of competition developed. The subjects in this study consisted of 191 basketball players. Specifically, (n)= 25 male collegiate athletes, (n)= 55 high school males, (n)= 47 female collegiate athletes, and (n)= 64 high school females. The Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (TEOSQ) was used to assess the athletes attitudes during sport. The Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire (PMCSQ) was used to determine the motivational climate. Two-way MANOVA results revealed that when groups were combined by level of competition, males were significantly higher in ego orientation than females (p=.010). Results also revealed that high school athletes were more task oriented than college athletes (p=.047), however, there were no gender differences (p=.291). There were no significant gender by level of competition interactions, for task (p=.554) or ego (p=.166) orientation. MANOVA revealed significant differences based on gender and level of competition. College males were significantly (p=.026) higher in mastery than high school males whereas high school females were significantly (p=.001) higher in mastery than college females. MANOVA results for mastery and performance indicated a significant gender by level interaction. A one-way ANOVA was run with a Bonferroni correction on gender and level of competition versus mastery and performance. High school females were significantly higher in both mastery (p=.049) and performance (p=.001) than high school males. College females were significantly lower in mastery than college males (p=.041), however, there were no significant differences between genders for performance (p=1.00). For levels of competition, high school females were significantly higher than college females (p=.008) in mastery, however, they were significantly lower in performance (p=.001). High school males showed no significant difference in mastery (p=.155) or performance (p=1.00) compared to college males. These results indicated that there was a significant (p=.000) positive correlation (r=.274) between task orientation and mastery climate. There was also a significant correlation (p=.000) between a performance climate and ego orientation (r=.354). Based on the findings of this study, it was concluded that differences exist in goal orientation between high school and collegiate basketball players. High school basketball players were higher in task orientation than collegiate basketball players. Male basketball players show a greater ego orientation than female basketball players, regardless of level of competition. Finally, there was a low, yet significant, correlation between motivational climate and goal orientation. Specifically, those players in a performance climate showed a greater tendency for ego orientation and those in a mastery climate showed a greater tendency for a task orientation.