A longitudinal analysis of commitment among competitive female gymnasts

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The purpose of this study was to examine the dynamic nature of commitment types among elite female gymnasts. We conducted a 1-year follow-up of gymnasts (Weiss, W.M., & Weiss, M.R. (2003). Attraction- and entrapment-based commitment among competitive female gymnasts. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 25, 229-247.) to determine (a) their participation status in relation to previous commitment type, (b) whether commitment types change over time, (c) whether commitment types differed in social influence, and (d) whether commitment types differed on level of sport commitment. Participants comprised adolescent gymnasts sampled 1 year earlier (full sample for first purpose; subsample for remaining purposes). Frequency data showed that 86% of the gymnasts were still competing 1 year later, and participation status was related to commitment type the previous year. A cluster analysis revealed the same commitment types for gymnasts in the sample at both years one and two: attracted, entrapped, vulnerable, and uninterested commitment. A total of 63.5% of gymnasts were classified in the same commitment profile while 36.5% “cluster hopped”. Attracted gymnasts reported greater parent and coach support, lower parent and teammate constraints, and higher level of commitment than entrapped gymnasts. Collectively, findings highlight the dynamic nature of sport commitment.

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