Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Brian L. Pritschet


Previous research has shown that motivation to participate in athletics is influenced by a variety of factors. A great number of studies have identified several of these factors including age, gender and scholarship status (Amorose and Horn, 2000). However very little research has been conducted regarding how the type of sport may influence motivation.

The purpose of this study was to determine if differences existed in the types of motivation exhibited by team sport athletes and individual sport athletes when assessed using the Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) (Pelletier et al, 1995). It was hypothesized that team sport athletes would display higher levels of Extrinsic Motivation than individual sport athletes.

A demographic questionnaire and the Sport Motivation Scale was sent to all 11 women's basketball teams in the Ohio Valley Conference and the nine women's swim teams in the Midwest Conference. Ten of the 11 basketball teams (n=71) and three of the nine swim teams (n=36) returned the surveys. The SMS assessed the type of motivation experienced by each athlete based on the self-determination continuum (Deci and Ryan, 1985; 1992).

A MANOVA was performed and examination of the results revealed a significant difference between the swimmers and the basketball players in the category Identified Regulation (p=.005) with the swimmers displaying greater levels. No significant difference was found between the two groups for any of the other six categories of motivation. Both the basketball players and the swimmers displayed higher levels of Intrinsic Motivation than Extrinsic Motivation. This did not support the hypothesis of the study. It was concluded that the only significant difference in motivation between swimmers and basketball players occurred on the extrinsic motivation – Introjected regulation category. All six other categories showed no significant difference.